Monday, January 31, 2011

Tales of the Fimir

I think I'll expand somewhat on my Fimir project, as much to arrange it in my own head as anything.

I've been nurturing this project like a cherished child for some time now. I had visions of hordes of Fimm warriors advancing over the bogs and moors of Albion, supported by Celt-style allied human tribes, with various beasts and machines in tow. The rather awkward story of the Fimir made them a little contentious, but even so I knew I would one day attempt a Fimir army.

One of the main problems with this grand ambition is that there were bugger all Fimir miniatures. Assembling a decent force was going to be a problem. Fortunately I relish this kind of difficulty with armies. I play chaos dwarves, for example. There was one release of Fimir by Games Workshop, here seen right. You have the meargh, the leader of the tribe, two dirach, her sorcerers, some nobles and fimm warriors. The large Fimir could hardly be used exclusively for two reasons. I don't want to have to use an ogre kingdoms list, and for the cost and time to acquire that many fimir I could hire a genetic engineer to grow me a real fimir and have time enough to raise it to adulthood.

So, human size fimir. There was ONE model, a Games Workshop limited edition. Oh, and the plastic Heroquest one. While my first fimir test mini IS a plastic one, I didn't plan on using them for all my human size fimir. What to do? I was considering plastic orcs heavily re-sculpted when I discovered the bog raiders from Bloodmoon Miniatures. I had to go and have a cup of tea to calm me down. Here were, for all intents and purposes, new fimir miniatures. Happy days.

So, with my core problems sorted, I began to consider other units. I had decided on the Warriors of Chaos list to base army on, specifically Nurgle, as the minus to hit modifiers satisfyingly represents the fimir mist obscuring the army. It gave me access to orges (large fimir nobles and fianna fimm units) trolls (Albion fen beasts) chaos warriors (fimm warriors) and so on. But I also wanted to include other units, humans who had allied themselves with the fimir. This gave me marauders (human shearl warriors) chariots (plenty of Celt chariots out there. I've been considering mounting one fimir fimm warrior in each chariot with a human driver.) marauder horse (light horsemen) and knights (not sure here, perhaps heavy elk cavalry) spawn (celtic monsters) giants (I have the giants of Albion set, in there is a giant with one eye. Bingo.) daemon princes (Balor - a daemon of the fimir)  chosen (bog spirits - a mix of dryad and undead parts will work here, methinks.) and so on. There's a wealth of conversion possibilities.

The painting considerations are mostly underpinned by the skin colour of the fimir, which I am still muddling about with. I follow the fluff laid down in Warpstone 25, it's a wealth of fimir background, top stuff for building a theme. Tattoos will be the order of the day on many warriors. Most of the fimir cloth will be red, as they like wearing clothes the colour of human blood. Charming gents.

So, finally, it seems as if I am running out of excuses not to start this army. To that end I have. The test mini is on the bench, a fimm warrior champion. My gaming buddies have been hearing me harp on about this for years. Time to get going. It will be a long project, but I'm very much looking forward to it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Temptations

Gaming, and wargaming in particular is a hobby which encourages the collector in one. You have to have a certain amount of discipline to collect, assemble and paint even one army. But this is rarely where it stops. How many gamers do you know have decided on a system, collected and painted their army and said "Right, that's me done!" Of course, with so many systems, eras, scales etc as well as a multitude of miniature and gaming companies on hand, this theoretical gamer would be very rare indeed. Most of us play a few systems and possibly have more than one army for each. But there's another level to this. The infamous lead pile.

Not all gamers, but a good few, this one included, have an insane amount of miniatures. Now, I have been at this lark for over twenty years, but I do possess enough lead that if melted down could make a full scale statue of me. On a horse. I'm not just bragging here, but the question I'm posing is why do some few gamers collect more than they could paint in several lifetimes? I know I often have every intention of painting and using each mini I buy, and the 'Ooo, shiny' factor is there for sure, but is that it? On top of this there is the 'must have' game/mini/whatever you're having yourself moments. You know what I mean. You see something that you simply must obtain, often losing all rational thought in the process of acquisition. I often wonder what flips that switch.

Anyhow, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, lucky you. For the rest of us, the next time you stare at your tottering tower of boxes of little lead and plastic fellows waiting their turn on the painting desk, spare a moment to wonder why DO you have so many ?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ghouls - The Ghast arrives

I've just finished the first of my three minis, the ghast. I'm pretty happy with how he turned out, the pale and filthy look is pretty on the money. I chose a very pale basecoat to show off the dip as both shade and a layer of grime on this rather disgusting fellow. I think a unit of these psycho madmen will look just the ticket.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gaming Etiquette

Today's topic for rumination is from Kuffeh, of The Trading Post fame. A worthy choice, and a subject, incidentally, which is close to my heart.

Gaming, for me, and the vast majority of gamers is about fun. Be it a pick-up game with a mate or an organised tournament for the title 'supreme overlord wargamer'. Now, I love winning as much as the next fellow, but I've enjoyed plenty of games where I've been backed into a corner and hacked to pieces. Why would you enjoy such a thing, I hear you say. Because my opponent fought with grace and sportsmanship. Such players are a joy to game with.

Most of the fellows I game with enjoy the odd jibe when something particularly entertaining happens in a game. I tend to indulge in this habit myself, but I'd never do it against a player I haven't fought before. I've been gaming with my group now for close to an aeon, and we all know each other well enough to laugh uproariously at each others expense, so this kind of thing is as much part of the comfortable ritual of gaming as the armies and play styles we use. However, there is still a basic set of unspoken rules that we all abide by, which I guess forms our version of gaming etiquette. We all know the rules (though we are often forgetful. Comes with age I guess), we all play for fun first and foremost, and so there are no pedantic rules lawyers tolerated, disputes are often sorted by the roll of a dice and investigated later for the exact truth of the matter. Coaching from spectators is heavily frowned on. We all have our lists and army books sorted, and we never mishandle other folks miniatures or gaming gear. This is a biggie for me. Folks know they are likely to lose a hand if they pick up my necromancer with greasy fingers.

Generally, I find if I can keep my competitive nature under control, and play the game with the aim of entertaining myself and my opponent as much as possible, all is well. If this means pointing out he's forgotten to fire his organ gun, so be it. I'd rather weather it's fire and know I murdered the crew and hung their chewed remains from nearby trees fairly and square.

One of the things that prompts me to play this way is that I have encountering gamers that do not play with either fair play or sportsmanship in mind, and have no social scruples when gaming, and having to keep an eye on someone to see if they are playing honestly is stressful. A game against these (thankfully very rare) players is a much fun as sticking heated needles into your own eyeballs. Especially when they win. Those are the occasions where I look at my spiky battle standard as a potential murder weapon. However! This is a tremendously rare occurrence, but it does make me appreciate the great players I usually encounter, and makes me more determined to play as fairly and good-naturedly as I can bearing in mind my burning desire for the blood of mortals.

So, I guess I would define good player etiquette as endeavouring to be that player you're only too happy to game with again.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vampire Counts - Dusty Skeletons

I think I really like 8th ed. The more I play, the more I think this. It's a much more flowing game. Magic can have a big impact, but I think it balances out. The new rules for moving, charging, terrain, fleeing and so on are all big improvements in my opinion. I do wish there were more detailed rules for buildings, but it's not a big gripe.

But that's not what this post is about. There is one thing that 8th has backed me into a corner over, and I'm not crazy about. My skeletons are getting dusty.

Bear with me here.

As I have mentioned before, I'm quite the lover of theme and narrative in my games. I play vampire counts. For me this means trudging hordes of ragged skeletons and stinking zombies silently bearing down on the terrified enemy. With the new edition, and, to be honest, the most recent vampire counts book, it's all about ghouls. I have been sucked into this too. When you compare the stat line of a ghoul vs a humble skeleton (with whatever weapon configuration) you come to the conclusion that the ghoul is the man if you want to hurt people in combat. Two poison attacks and toughness four? Sign me up. My ghouls have performed great, actively winning combats. I'm not used to my core winning combats as a vampire counts player.

But for all my joy at my naked madmen tearing up the enemy, I miss my skeletons. I've racked my brain trying to come up with a unit of bonemen that compares (though the extra command options are worth consideration), but to no avail. This is one situation where my desire to win games is competing with my preferences for the theme of my army. Also, having two core units (at least) that are effectively redundant is not good. It troubles one.

I haven't abandoned my search for the effective skeleton warrior, but for now, it's all about the cannibals.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dipping - The Conundrum

Over the last six months or so, I've been gradually seduced by the lure of the army painter dip. Like most I think, when I first heard of this stuff I was, to say the least, warily pessimistic as to the veracity of the claims that it was some sort of magic shading sauce. I saw some minis done with it and thought, 'Too shiny, too muddy, bleagh. Away with you.'

A few weeks later, on the excellent Carpe Noctem, I was looking through the gallery of folks recent work. I saw these guys above. I thought wow, they're nice, very nice indeed! Imagine my surprise when I learned they were done with the aforementioned army painter. I was a little gobsmacked, in fact. This prompted me to reconsider. I thought I better give this stuff a shot.

Here's one of my first minis done with the painter. I was very pleasantly surprised. With careful application (brush, NOT dip), a good matt varnish and good basing, the minis looked magic, and here's the thing: they took very little time to do. To fully understand the effect this had on me, we'll need some back-story: I am a VERY slow painter. I am fastidious. I own my own weight a few times over in miniatures that I really want to paint. This was a solution sent from on high.

Now, don't get me wrong, I still apply details and highlights over most dipped figures. It doesn't suit every mini or every colour. I won't be giving up traditional painting, far from it, I'm just getting into my stride. BUT, and it's a gargantuan but, I can see my armies actually getting finished, and looking damn good, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Warhammer - Competition VS Narrative

Most people I know don't get to play warhammer as much as they would like. Given this fact, when we do meet up, most of the time we opt for a standard scenario out of the 8th ed rules. This is all good. However, this does preclude us from indulging in some of the less travelled roads of warhammer, campaigns, story based games and multi-player battles.

I'm as competitive as most folks, and love nothing better than a gory, close-fought game. I far prefer a close game to winning by a walkover. I played a game last year against a friend's wood elves that will stay with me forever. It was the closest game I have ever played, one in which every movement, every combat seemed to be vital to victory. But more importantly in my view, both armies played as their background might intend. The elves harried the undead looking for a weak point in the line, ambushing and fleeing as necessity demanded. The undead trudged forward in a seemingly unstoppable horde, cornering and overwhelming isolated elven units. The game had a great narrative that seemed to evolve without any special rules or planning on our part. Thinking about this, how much more entertaining would this have been had it been part of a campaign arc or special scenario?

I think at heart I'm all about the story in games of warhammer. I like tournaments, love them even, but given the choice I'd take a campaign. I'm one of those fellows with a well defined back story for my army. All my characters are named. I might take a unit for fluff rather than optimising the perfect tournament list. Personally, I get much more satisfaction out of taking out Rothrend the treeman with Stephane Dreux the vampire knight than rolling to hit a generic treeman ancient with an equally anonymous vampire lord. I think all players buy into this at some level, it just makes the game more enjoyable. I've taken to producing tourney battle-reports as narratives, and it goes down well.

So where am I going with this meandering waffling? I guess this year I'll be trying extra hard to get those games in with special rules, home-brewed or taken from the general's compendium (a treasure trove of warhammer goodness) campaigns, big or small, and that hankering for naval warhammer out of my head and onto the table.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vampire Counts - Ghouls & Gulfs

I've been having great success in 8th edition with a list I trotted out in my first game of 8th. So much so I've generally decimated my opponents, bar one almighty beating at the hands of an ogre army, which was a steamroller. Now, in retrospect, there were a few rules that weren't played correctly that game, but even so I don't know if I would have held out. However, I still haven't been able to justify changing the list much.

I field a caster lord with forbidden lore, master of the black arts and summon ghouls as well as the talisman of preservation, armour of silvered steel, biting blade and the ironcurse icon. Two units of thirty ghouls, bsb with Drakenhof banner, infinite hatred and supernatural horror leading one of the ghoul units. Twenty grave guard with wight king with sword of kings, (his most notable kill being a dwarf lord, ah delicious memories) banshee with three wraiths, fifteen skeleton spearmen with necromancer with dispel scroll and two vargulf.

I'd like a bigger unit of grave guard, but it's hard to find the points in this list. The spearmen are just to ferry the necromancer. The vargulf have proven themselves over and over again. Using two gives me a lot of manoeuvring power, and they generally stick close to each other. The bsb in the ghoul unit. Most folks field the Drakenhof banner in a grave guard unit, and this is cool, but I find ghouls with regeneration can stand up to almost anybody when they are led by a vamp. The terror from the supernatural horror for the bsb, the banshee and the vargulfs usually sends one or two units running every game. The only unit that I'd like to beef up is the lord's ghoul unit, but summon ghouls generally makes up for that.

I have been considering a new lord. Frost blade, Red fury and infinite hatred, stick him beside the bsb. Think of the possibilities...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chaos Dwarf - Obsidian Guard

Here's the last of my three minis ready for priming. I love the old Citadel miniatures, but, by the powers, the clean-up can be murder. I'm going for a rubble and ruin kind of theme for these guys, hence the base. I'm toying with the idea of having little fires among the ruins, as if the army is moving through a town it has just torched, but I'm wary of getting into osl on so many figures. We'll see. I chose this guy as the test mini as he has lots of different surfaces to tackle, skin, armour, hair, leather, cloth etc. Also, I like him because he's a a one-eyed mutie dwarf. Now, time for some paint methinks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ghouls - Ghastly Ghast

Now, the second of my three fellows, the ghast. He took a little fiddling to assemble, not because of any problems with the model, more-so as I pinned his head and arms on. Call me paranoid. I love this model, indeed all the Heresy ghouls are fantastic. He's quite big, and, slightly distressingly, anatomically correct. But did they really have to give him piles? A painting conundrum to be sure. I'm looking forward to getting some paint on him, but first I'll assemble the last of my three, the chaos dwarf.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Fimir of Albion

So, I've got the first fimir fimm warrior up on his feet. He's shaping up well, I think he might make unit champion after all. The Microart Studio base looks very groovy, so after a little green-stuffing and a some repairs to his weapon hand he's almost ready for priming, after some filing when the green stuff cures. The hide cloak suits I think, especially if he's destined for command. Once this guy is done I may start on the first six man fianna fimm unit (ogre-sized fimir).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Armies

This year, I'm finally going to have a crack at two armies that I've been longing to do for a long time. Friends of mine I am sure are so well used to hearing me go on about them they have long since given up the idea of me ever actually starting them. They are the chaos dwarves and the fimir. I've been a long time fan of both races, and now I have enough models to begin creating viable armies.

I'm still very much building my vampire counts army, so this is going to be a busy year on the hobby front. I've already had my first game with the chaos dwarves, and got hooped. There have been some changes to the Indy GT list since then to begin getting it compatible with 8th ed, so I'm hoping the changes will help. There was also an incident with some miners that didn't help matters.

The fimir army will use the warriors of chaos list. The mark of Nurgle will simulate the fimir's protective mist, and fimm warriors, nobles, meargh and so on can all be accommodated in the list. I'll be setting the army in Albion, so there will be local Celtic style humans (shearl) and fen beasts in the army too. Issue twenty five of Warpstone magazine was invaluable for background.

So. Here is the first test model for the chaos dwarf obsidian guard and fimir fimm warrior (chaos warrior) regiments, and the ghast for my first ghoul regiment. I felt obliged to use the old Heroquest fimir as the first model, though I do plan to use Bloodmoon miniatures bog raiders and old Citadel fimir for the majority or the army. I'll post more wip shots as they come together.

Wayland Games

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