Monday, May 30, 2011

Citadel Metals - Battle's End

I warn you now, this post contains a profundity of maudlin sentimentality, so if you're not ready for some serious nostalgia, best to pass by...

I've been a gamer now for 25 years, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I've made a lot of great friends through the hobby in that time, and I love it as much now as I did when I picked up White Dwarf issue 95 (which I still have) as a 12 year old and was immediately hooked. My first miniature was a scimitar wielding chaos dwarf, which I also still have. (I've only just started a chaos dwarf army, so he'll certainly be seeing battle again soon) So, it's with some small sadness that I say goodbye to the metal Citadel miniature.

Back when I were young, it was all metal, far as the eye could see lad! The first plastic kits were only just about to appear, the legendary space marine RTB01 set for 40k, and the fantasy regiments set for warhammer. The Citadel miniatures of the mid to late 80's are still among my favourites. The change to resin certainly feels like a full stop on an era. Like most, (let's forget the price hike for a minute) I'm approaching this with cautious optimism, I'm still a little concerned about it's sensitivity to heat, it's durability and how safe it is to work with as far as filing and dust are concerned, but I guess that'll all come out in the wash soon enough as folks get their hands on them. The lightness of the material bodes well both for assembly and the design of future miniatures, so the jury is still out.

Anyway, I bid a fond farewell to the venerable Citadel metal miniature, A stalwart through my many years of gaming. I'm sure they'll be haunting ebay for years to come.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Citadel Finecast - Opinions?

Well, it's pretty much here. Citadel finecast is imminent. From the promotional blurb on GW, it's all good. It certainly looks the part. I really need to see some in the flesh though. Unless it's some new magic resin, there are things that would concern me. Such as:

1. How tough is it? Resin is notoriously brittle, and those swords, spears and standard hafts look like they are aching to snap off. Plus, will it shatter like the T-1000  when dropped? This is the big one for me.

2. Adhesive. Will super glue do the job? Some resins don't seem to take too well to superglue, or even two-part epoxy resin.

3. Clean-up. Resin doesn't work like metal or plastic when you're sawing, clipping or converting it. This may be frustrating for new or inexperienced modellers. The dust isn't the best for you either. Masks on!

4. Not really a concern with the material, just bafflement as to why it's more expensive than the metal version, but that little bugbear is already well argued, so I won't go into it here.

So, I really need half a dozen test dummy minis to experiment on before I invest in any. I'll be watching the reviews with great interest...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tavern Talk - Tournaments and Comp

Another subject of hot debate from The Trading Post. This time it's all about comp. There's some pretty definitive comp lists, the ETC springs to mind, and every variation all the way to no comp - bring your filth tournaments such as the Ard Boyz. Your opinion of these rules depends on how you want to play warhammer, but of course, as rules packs are available well before the tournament begins, you should know what you're in for. A fluff player (guilty) might find the kind of mathhammer at the ETC disagreeable, but a hardcore-tournament junkie (I could easily go down this road if I went to more tourneys!) would love it. Personally, I tend toward more scenario-based soft list warhammer, but I still like the odd frenzied competition game. But there's a few pitfalls in comp.

Most games of 8th I've played have had some form of comp. Some of this, at this stage still comes from knee-jerk reaction to a new system, but also as it takes time to get enough feedback to refine comp lists, so I think we have some time to go before a truly balanced comp list (again, the ETC comp is pretty good) is in common usage.

The most common comp I've come across is the no special characters rule. I regard this as almost mandatory, even in friendlies. I hate special characters, they unbalance the game (hello Teclis) terribly, so I'm all for this one. There are the other common comps I can take or leave such as no power scroll, no scenarios, max 12 power dice and so on. Most of this works quite well, as they adjust common mechanics that affect all armies. As most of the army books are 7th ed, I think there is some adjustment needed to allow for 8th ed tourneys. One thing that causes problems is true line of sight (TLOS). I know that the virtual line of sight (VLOS) is gaining momentum, but...I dunno. I have no issues with TLOS, but I can understand how, if you're playing a jackhole it can get unpleasant. The jury is still out on that one.

Where I think it gets more complicated is where you get into allowances for specific armies, like 200 extra points for Beastmen or Wood Elves. Granted Wood Elves are a tough prospect in 8th, but once you start introducing army-specific comp things can get messy. I'm not saying it's a bad idea per se, but I think an organiser needs to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the game to start comping in this way to achieve balance.

One thing I do like about comp, especially comp that forces soft or unusual lists (1000pts core minimum, no lvl 4 wizards etc, or special scenario lists) is that it forces you to play in a different way, using units you might not usually field. To me, this is a good thing as it brings something fresh to the game. This appeals to me too as being a vampire counts player, I am tiring of having to play the same list over and over. I'll never give up my dead lads, but being tied to virtually one viable build (plus I miss my skellie blocks) is getting boring, both for me and my opponents, so unusual comp stirs it up a little.

So there you go. A little rumination on the vagaries of comp in 8th edition.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fimir - The Meargh

I've assembled my meargh, the stooped hag-queen of the my fimir clan. I'm taking a break from the fimm factory to put a couple of heroes together. She was the first fimir in my collection, and she's been tucked away in a box for an age of man. I've given her a little narrative on the base, as she stands over the remains of some of her many sacrifices. I'm planning on filling the convenient hollow that the skulls rest in with coloured water effects so they are partially submerged. It'll be great to finally get painting, but I'm trying to assemble the entire army first. This is proving a trial, as I'm fiending to get painting these guys.

Monday, May 16, 2011

B*stardcon 5 Inbound

It's that time again. B5 is go. It's something of a grandiose name for what's essentially a very small tournament among our own extended gaming group, so it's pretty casual. That's not to say there isn't some absolute filth that folks bring to the table. We're going to implement the lasest ETC rules this time round (Up yours, double hydra) and see how that goes. We've a very interesting multi-player lined up for Sunday, once we iron out the kinks for the scenario. 2000pts of just characters, no mounts, small town setting. Should be interesting.

Glorious Movement Trays

I've recently bought a batch of movement trays from Base-X-of-War on ebay. I discovered the shop after seeing Mark Widmans's beautiful beastman army in Unseen Lerker issue seven. His forest trays and bases were so impressive I thought 'Perhaps they do swamp bases, that would suit my fimir perfectly.' Happily, they did, so I bought some trays and bases. These arrived, and they are the schizzle. The swamp bases in particular come with a little extra cool feature. They have recessed hollows in them for pouring in some water effects, which is genius. So, if you're looking for some groovy bases or movment trays, give them a look.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Warhammer - Portraits

This is a commission I finished recently. It's a portrait of a gamer mate of mine as his two favourite armies, which ended up a Spanish flavoured ogre man-eater. I've done a bunch of these for people who wanted to be immortalised as a member of their favourite army, faction, gang or whatever you're having yourself.

Fimir - Masked Fimm

 I'm getting to the point now where I'm not posting every fimm I make, but this fellow is another of my cast heads, the leather-hooded fimm. The detail and shape of the hood doesn't come out on the photo as well as it does in the flesh, I'm afraid, but the face is at least quite clear. I'm pretty happy with it, which leaves only the helmeted fimm to go. At this stage I have 7 out of 20 fimm complete for the first unit, but the filler I plan will take up four spaces, leaving 9 fimm to go. Getting there!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Modelling - Press Moulding

Okay. I've had some success with Instant Mould in getting my fimir heads sorted, so I thought I'd put up this wee tutorial to share the things I've learned during the process. This tutorial applies to anyone trying to mould a part like a head, weapon, anything with two sides. Here we go, step-by-step with Doctor Saturday's press moulding workshop.

Step 1
Find a container not too much bigger than the object you are planning to make a mould of. This is important as you need something that will contain the instant mould so that when you press the part in, the instant mould has nowhere to go, and presses back into the detail of the part.

Step 2
Pour some boiling water in another container, and add your stick(s) of instant mould. Give it a minute until it becomes soft and pliable. Use the rest of the water to make tea.

Step 3
Lift the instant mould out of the water with tweezers. If it's quite melty, you're ready to rock.

Step 4
Press the instant mould into the mould container, to about half way. Make sure you have enough material ready to make the entire mould, as this stuff hardens up pretty quick.

Step 5
Press your part into the material, in this case, my fimir head. I pressed it face in, not profile, as I didn't want any lines along the face where the second dose of instant mould went in. This turned out to be no problem anyway.

Step 6
Add the second lot of instant mould, pressing in until you can press nae more. Allow to harden for a few minutes.

Step 7
This part can be a pain. Instant mould doesn't stick to much, but it can still be a job getting the mould out of the container. I use these rather sharp tweezers to dig into a non-essential part of the mould and pull it out. Pear down the edges of the mould if needs be. Cut it close to the actual edge of the part, but still leave about 3-5mm so it doesn't tear when you take out the master part.

Step 8
Here's the most vital bit. Press moulding is not going to yield the same results as using liquid metal/plastic, which flows into all the detail, yielding nice, crisp models. The way around this is the application of brute force. The mould isn't going to be two part. First, we need to extract the master part. Cut a line, in this case aiming toward the back of the head and neck, so the mould opens just enough to pull out the part, leaving the moulding of the face and such untouched. Next, carve enough space at the back of the head and neck so you can push in the greenstuff.

Step 9
The reason for the large opening is to give you enough room so you can shove the greenstuff (or whatever) into the mould's detail using something the size of a paintbrush end to give you a better casting. Keep the end of the tool you're using wet to stop the greenstuff gripping it. I can't emphasise how violent you need to be here. You need to keep adding and shoving in greenstuff until it starts pushing back at you. leave it to cure. Have more tea.

Step 10
Hopefully, all that agression will have forced the greenstuff into the required shape. If not, try again, THEN melt the mould and it's back to step 1. It took four attempts to get the heads to come out decent.

If so, tea all round. Huzzah!

Fimir - Cast Fimm Heads

A red letter day in the construction of the army! I managed to finally get my moulds to produce good quality castings, so I'm back on the fimm assembly line. (I'll be putting up a tutorial for how I made the moulds later) I was quite worried about this head, as it was my most ambitious sculpt to date, with all the gaps among the teeth I wondered with it make a decent mould at all, but it worked better than I expected, after several attempts. I'll be putting up some pictures of the helmeted and hooded fimm in the next day or two.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fimir - Fianna Fimm Assembled

The first fianna fimm unit is assembled, wondrous. I had to wait for more greenstuff to arrive to finish them, but now they are ready for some paint. I have a sexy movement tray ordered from Base-X-of War, (thank you, Unseen Lerker) which should look very nice indeed. The swamp bases and trays they make have hollow sections where you can pour water effects for extra swampyness. I still need to attach some more brass-etched foliage, but that should be it, and then the paint can flow.

Now, back to wrestling with these moulds.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Vampire General - Bat Swarms

Ah, the humble bat swarm, one of the most rarely used units in the vampire counts army, and with good reason, for they have little use in any list I can think of.

 Redirectors, you say! Well, at 35 points each, I'd happily take one spirit host (65pts) or four fell bats (80pts) for two bat swarms (70pts) any day. But, Mr Saturday, they're fast, you holler in hoarse desperation. True, they have Swiftstride, but again, our spirit host is as fast on average with movement 6, and the fell bats, they fly as well. Aha, you thunder, triumph in your eyes, they can hunt war machines. Weeelll....technically, yes. However, with strength and toughness 2, they may hold up a machine for a turn or two, but I doubt they'll destroy it. They may pass on some nasty disease to the crew, certainly a painful scratch or two, but that won't help your vampire lord with the cannon ball tombstone. At least they use up core points, you scream, tears rolling down your face. Nope, sorry, they don't count toward core points.

Now, pull yourself together, and we'll go through the motions. Here's the stats for our ineffectual little critters:

M WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  LD
1   3    0   2  2   4  1  4   3

Yes. Rah-hu-ba-hish. They are also a swarm, but as undead don't use the squish rules, using unstable instead.  Now, again, the main value of these guys would be as redirectors and general irritation. Yes, they have 4 wounds, the fell bats have only 2. But you almost get two fellbats per base of bats. As for spirit hosts, they are almost two bats per base of spirit host, and they are ETHEREAL, which will stop anything short of a magic cannonball. So, in the support unit stakes, the bats come out poorly. So poor, in fact, that there really is no need to elaborate much further. The only real use I can see for bats are screening. They can soak up more damage than a fellbat, and you get two (almost) for one spirit host, so they can cover more space, BUT, with true line of sight this is of dubious value against shooting.

So, a big thumbs down from the vampire general. Next up, the corpse cart.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It Ain't Easy Being (Without) Green

Bleedin' Nora! I've run out of greenstuff, so my fimir building has ground to a complete halt. Aaargh! Hurry Mr Postman, I grow impatient. I'm right in the middle of making moulds for the fimir heads, which is not going that well, I seem to be having problems getting the detail to take in the mould. Still, it took a few attempts for the first mould, which eventually turned out great, I just need to persevere.I think while I'm waiting I'll clean up some fimir parts for assembly and perhaps even base some of my poor neglected ghouls...

Wayland Games

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