Monday, December 20, 2010


No painting to report, which is unfortunate; however, I did just finish reading the Horus Heresy novel Nemesis, by James Swallow. For the uninitiated, the Horus Heresy is a Warhammer 40k historical period where civil war nearly destroyed the Imperium (indeed, you could argue that is the most important historical element of the setting). Anyway, it was an interesting book, even if it did have some deviations from the background, as well as some particularly unskilled assassins. I do not want to reveal to much, but it did have some interesting Imperial worlds, technologies, and detailed two of the assassin types not previously discussed.

Thinking about the book the other day, it occurred to me that using assassins in some sort of skirmish/Necromunda/=I=munda game would be interesting. It would cost a substantial amount of "reputation" to get one assigned, and there would always be the chance that the temple of assassins sent them after you instead...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Painting again, at last!

The other day, I decided that I should just paint a figure that I had sitting around in my desk, from start to finish. I chose the beggar figure from the Reaper Townsfolk II set, sculpted by Bobby Jackson. These are great figures, full of character and easy to paint; however, they are very very large, too large to work well with many other figures out there. I plan to use these figures as scenery for Warhammer games, and as NPCs in WHFRP, so the size should be ok.

A nice feature of painting a fantasy figure, and particularly a one off, is that there is no uniform consideration, and if I want to paint the pants one color and the shirt another, only aesthetics dictates what I should do. So I was able to zip along, and got a fair amount finished.

As you can see from this picture though, I had a bit of a handicap while painting though...

Since then, I have painted up another figure (the farmer with the withered arm from Reaper Townsfolk V), and plan to do a few more soon. Maybe this will get me back on track.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Last week, I got some great stuff in the afternoon mail.

The first was a sprue of Mantic Ghouls sent courtesy of Wayland games. For a while at least, they had a program where by you registered for their newsletter, and then they sent you a sprue of Ghouls. I registered some time in April, and was not expecting to get them anymore. Most interestingly, the packet was post marked April 27th, so it took nearly 7 months to get here.

Here is a picture of the sprue, and another with a standard 2nd edition Space Marine (which, considering how long ago 2nd edition was in print, might not be considered standard any more!). These are the first Mantic figures I have seen in person, and they seem quite nice. I could certainly see getting a few more sprues of these to use for a variety of purposes; however, they seem somewhat limited in that they have only three heads for two torsos.

The second was the flyer that I mentioned in the last post, which Tony of Dampf's Modeling page kindly sent to me. Opening that packet was a thrill. My wife and I paged through it together, and she said "They used to have so many games". So true. GW went from having, and promoting, ten games, to just the three "main" games of today. Just looking at the wackiness that used to be part of the hobby makes one feel sad for the blander current games (which to be fair also have better sculpted figures and more complete ranges).

Front cover:

Back Cover:

40k pages:

Ah, look at all that red.

In other hobby news, I managed to put brush to a figure for the first time in many months, and also started thinking about getting going on the Baneblade again... we will see how that works out.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blast from the past

When I was but a lad, I somehow convinced my dad to take me around to all the hobby shops in town. We had an enjoyable afternoon driving around from one shop to the next, looking at models, rockets, and miniatures The last shop we visited was Viking Hobby, which was jam packed with models, miniatures, and board based wargames.

After browsing around the store a bit, I came across something which would change me forever, a Games Workshop flyer which had information about all of their games and miniatures (they then had many more games than currently). I did not buy anything, but I did leave the shop with that flyer, which I poured over for hours and hours, studying every picture, and dreaming of grand battles between Eldar and Space Marines, two things I did not even know about previously.

I later hesitantly showed it to my friend, and to my surprise he immediately pulled out a shoebox full of Squats! (then a major part of the emerging Warhammer 40k universe). Right then and there we had a bit of a battle with his squats (partly painted with enamel paint). He wanted to review the flier, and I left it there, and never saw it again (I suspect his mom threw it out). We never played with his figures again, but did have a continuing series of battles with armies made from Legos, adjudicated by simple rules based on his recollection of 40k.

Now, many (many) years later, Tony, of Dampf's Modelling Page, was having a bit of a rummage through his various GW flyers, and decided to clear them out. During a bit of discussion, I mentioned my experience with the flyer, and today he posted this post, the first item of which has what appears to be the flyer in question! Just look at that cover in all of its early 90s glory! Back banners, red and yellow on everything, and green edged flocked bases.

Love it. I think I am going to be looking at that cover all day now...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Middle Earth Musings

As you might have guessed by reading this blog (someone does read this, right?), I flit from one project to another, based on the weather, or what I have read online, or pretty pictures I have seen. I have been in a Middle Earth sort of mood lately, partly due to reading the Lord of the Rings to my wife and offspring at bedtime, and partly due to a cousin naming his new daughter after someone in the Silmarillion. (yes, seriously) Both activities led to reading about the world on Wikipediea, which has a good deal of information from the books and the histories of Middle Earth, published by Christopher Tolkien.

Thinking about Middle Earth always makes me think about the grand battles, and playing them on the tabletop. Battles such as Pelennor Feilds, the Five Armies, Osgiliath, and the Hornburg are huge cinematic struggles, even without there being a movie made. With grand battles, it makes sense to go small scale for figures, and with LotR it makes sense to look at 10mm because of the Battle of Five Armies box, which has a huge number of regiments perfect for use in other battles as well. Once you are talking 10mm, then Warmaster or some variant comes into play as well, which is excellent, since I have three versions of those rules, and like them enough for a game.

The difficulty with doing battles from the Lord of the Rings is of course that most of them are not even matches, there are either huge massive numbers of baddies, or a moral break on the part of the enemy that causes them to flee, or good guys riding up to save the day, or all of those. Several battles are essentially sieges, or battles around the relief of a siege. "Bathtubing" [a most excellent term which comes from naval gamers] the major battles is necessary, and in most cases I think one regiment for 1000 men is probably sufficient. That is a figure ratio around 1:30, which is not too bad, and well suited I think to Warmaster. However, even this leads to around 55 evil regiments at Pelennor Feilds, two of those comprised of mûmikil (as well as Grond and siege equipment). Careful scenario building will be necessary though, to make sure that each battle is not a repeat of the book, and that the "good" side has a chance of achieving objectives. Point based "even" meeting battles might be a way to go, but that is a lot more work than just setting up a scenario based on the books.

Figurewise I am actually pretty well situated for once, since I have the Battle of Five Armies box, and it has eight regiments of Orcs alone, and a total of 16 "evil" regiments. I have a small Rohan force made up of Copplestone "Horse tribe" figures and the good and evil hero packs as well. Of course that leaves only 42 more regiments to go for Pelennor Fields... most of those are Haradrim and Rhûn Easterlings. The humans, both good and evil, will be sourced from historical armies, which should be easy enough. Great Hall Miniatures will be of help here, since they sell both Magister Militum and Old Glory figures, both of which should be excellent for this purpose (and cost effective!)

So anyway, that is the distraction de jure, the reoccurring dream of massive 10mm Middle Earth. I just have to stave off dreams of refighting the War of Wrath, and Balrogs riding on Dragons...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Long Weekend

This past weekend was a long one here in the US, due to the Labor day holiday. Typically this would have meant some work on miniatures, or painting, or possibly work on the house, but the family and I went to Santa Cruz to visit some relatives of my wife.

While visiting, we did get three games of Settlers of Catan in. Two regular games, and one with the multi player expansion to allow for six players. There was talk of Cities and Knights, but we did not get around to it. In any case, I did not win, but I was not doing too poorly either. Settlers is a great game, but it can be a little frustrating if your initial placement does not work out as well as you planned, or if the dice turn on you... much like a wargame in that regard.

I also had the opportunity to drop in on the local game store, Game-a-Lot Hobby, which is a fairly even mix of RPGs, miniatures, and board games. I like to browse "local" stores, because they often have slightly different games than you read about online, and there are fewer surprises when you hold a box in your hand. They had the issues of White Dwarf that I did not get, and had an advance copy of the Castle Ravenloft board game, which seems pretty large. The cashier said that it was something like Descent, which she did not really like, but was willing to play again. The store also had a selection of Heavy Gear rules and miniatures, which was completely surprising, considering its comparative obscurity once they shifted to 1/144.

So that is how I spent my long weekend. How about you?

Friday, September 3, 2010

White Dwarf

I got my first issue of the new subscription to White Dwarf this week. White Dwarf, for those few of you not in the know, is the Games Workshop house magazine, which features their three main game systems (WH40k, WHFB, LotR), and some hobby content (mostly painting and simple conversions). For some reason, I got a 14 month subscription, which is a nice bonus, probably due to the conversation I had with the mail order troll, in which it was revealed that they had lost my account information, and thus had never contacted me for renewal. (they sent me some back issues also)

In any case, I have been getting WD for the past 10 years at least, and have every issue back to fall of 1996 or so, which is pretty good. The magazine has certainly changed in that period, mostly as GW itself has changed. The hobby content has waxed and waned, and the number of game systems has changed too, as the various specialist games were introduced, faded, and were replaced, and as LotR was added. Rules in the magazine were banished for years, to only just now make a reappearance. It is also a fairly costly subscription, with yearly subscriptions now up to $80, and "freebies" now long gone.

Still, I like the magazine, and its high quality glossy photography. My wife and I thumb through it together at bed time, and then I read it, and set it aside, mostly forgotten. I still remember some articles though, and with my stack of past issues, I can track down a number of useful hobby/painting guides if needed. So for now, the subscription continues. I will try and post a bit about this issue sometime soon.

Friday, July 30, 2010

In a RPG sort of mood

Inspired by Penny Arcade's articles on sandbox gaming [herein defined as free form gaming with multiple plot threads in a prepared semi-dynamic world], and a general interest lately in content creation, I have been thinking quite a bit about a WHFRP campaign, set in southern Wissenland [the southernmost Elector State in the Empire]. Naturally, it would be supported by miniatures, terrain, and so on. (what good game is not?)

Chasing down information online about this sort of gaming, I read the 24 steps of creating a sandbox, as defined by Bat in the Attic, and immediately started to think of ideas and plot lines and so on to hook my PCs. Looking over a map of Wissenland, I decided that Wusterburg looked like a good center for action, with two rivers, the Black Mountains, and other interesting areas to explore and to place. This will also allow for some ruins/empty territory exploring as the area encompasses parts of former Solland. (Elector State ruined by Orcs in 1707 and now subsumed mostly by Wissenland)

This sort of gaming project has extra allure to me because it combines both world building and obsessive detail, both of which I enjoy. It is also useful at the current time, since the offspring makes any actual at home hobby time fleeting at best, and this can be pursued during lunch hours, with mapping and NPC creation.

Difficulties in creating a WHFRP campaign are many fold. First, I do not have any regular playing group. This could be a way to start gaming with some friends of mine. Second, I do not have all the WHFRP books, and would want/have to get more. For example including Skaven would mean that I need the requisite source book. (That the books are now out of print does not help matters any) Third, I have not GMed/DMed/Storytold before. Fourth, I just do not have much free time, and weekly gaming sessions would exceed the time I have. None of these difficulties are insurmountable, but they do make this project more of a fantasy than it would otherwise be.

In any case, this is where my hobby time has been lately, thinking about striking out into the wilds in the southern empire, righting wrongs, and exploring ruins.

As for painting, I have not touched a brush in months... well, a miniature brush that is. I have painted a patch on a wall, and rolled out some paint in the garage, but nothing miniature wise. I think that 2009/10 will go in the records book as the least productive painting year ever.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More Delays

As expected, the arrival of a newborn to our household has completely shut down any hobby activity. Even the Baneblade has been stalled. Sleep has become a priority, and coupled with the various season finale type television and increased numbers of visitors, there just has not been enough time for the lead and plastic.

I have had some time to register for a few miniature related forums, which is good, because passively reading various posts is good, but participating is better. Naturally, this has also awakened various interests, such as my Neo-Soviet vs. Poland StarGrunt II idea, and terrain ideas.

Sometime... I will have time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I had thought that my quick progress on the Baneblade would mean that I would have moved on to painting by now, however, like many projects, it seems to have stalled at the around 60% built stage, this time while I try and decide if I should cut up the engine plate to center the engine block.

The model itself is pretty great, with tons of pieces and moving parts, but it could have been designed slightly better to ease assembly. I need to finish up assembly, create a bit of interior for the tank commander, and then paint.

I also completed storage in the garage for my boxes of miniature related items, since the offspring is going to be using the space which was briefly a hobby room. As part of the move, I had to give up my "converting/building" desk, which is too bad. I did manage to build some of the Rogue Trader/Necromunda/RP figures I had planned on, so I should be able to finish and paint those sometime. That is always how it goes though, finish and paint... sometime.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Some of the fine blogs I follow have been featuring 2010 resolutions. In fact, nearly all of them have had such things.

Never being one to buck a useful trend, here are five of mine.

  1. Get in a game or two. In 2009 I played no games, and that is silly when one has 10 armies for several game systems. I need to at least play some solo games.
  2. Paint more figures. In 2009 I painted very little, mostly due to moving and so on. 2010 needs to be more productive. Idealy I would be painting at least 10 Olly points per month, which would be 120 figures per year.
  3. Figure out figure storage. I already have more "finished" figures than storage, so this is already pressing. Some sort of dust proof plastic boxes with steel sheet bottoms would be ideal.
  4. Get hobby room finished and set up. Once the in-laws move out of it, the room needs some work to make it hobby friendly. Fortunately, it will be able to exist in that state for several years.
  5. Use the airbrush again. Having used my airbush a single time is a great waste. With several tanks to paint, this seems like an ideal way to proceed, and having the hobby room set up will aid as well.

We will see how I did with them as the year progresses.

In other news, the baneblade has arrived, and over a couple of episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation, I managed to get 90% of it clipped out, and spent some time examining the fit of peices and so on. Very impressed with the kit, but is it worth $99 retail? Doubtful. A 1/35 large tank sells for much less, and has far superior detailing, as well as being a more technicaly proficent kit. On the plus side, I was impressed by the slide molding of the gun barrels. Having to fit together, glue, sand, and then drill out guns is a pain.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Project(s)

Well, I had a single vote on the post about "what should I do pre-baby's birth". Fortunately, this vote was my wife's, so it was the most significant. She voted that I should do something frivolous, such as a Baneblade. Well, her encouragement ringing in my ears, I hurried to the Warstore and made my order. (nicely taking advantage of their holiday sale). So that is settled then, and in about a week, I should have the massive box in my hot little hands.

I have already considered modeling options, and reviewed the White Dwarf with assembly instructions, and I think that I will be modifying the model slightly to more closely match the original Forgeworld issue. This will mean moving the sponsons to the 2/3 position, removing some rivets, and a few other cosmetic changes.

In other projects for 2010, I plan to finish painting the Imperial French Battalion I started in July, finish converting and paint the Delaque gangers, and work on my Steel Legion platoon (mostly painting).

As always, we will see how my plans go.