Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Old and the New

These days, the standard of the models getting produced is getting pretty amazing. advances in moulding and plastics technologies means models can be produced that could only be imagined in the most crazed fever dream of the miniature maker in the 70's and 80's. From the wonderful Gamezone creations to the sublime plastics of Games Workshop, we're spoiled. I remember looking at the new GW skeleton warrior sprue and being amazed at the fact that you could see through some of the skulls eye sockets and lower jaws. The quality and artistry of miniature making these days is simply incredible.

And yet...

I have an long-standing love affair with the miniatures of the 1980s, specifically those produced by Citadel, in the so-called golden age of GW minis. The character of the minis of this period is hard to beat, in my opinion. Sculptors like the Perry twins, the mighty Kevin Adams, Trish & Aly Morrison, Jes Goodwin, Bob Naismith, Bob Olley, Nick Bibby (who did the fimir!) among others produced a mountain of miniature goodness.

My personal fascination is with the undead of that period, which as far as I am concerned stand up to anything made now. Every minature has a personality inferred in its design, which is not the case with rank and file for today's vampire counts armies. I have, over the years, acquired the entire Citadel line of undead from the 80's, which I am gradually hammering into an army. It does look a bit special.

This is not to say I don't buy new minis, far from it. My closets creak with the weight of new miniatures yet to be painted, but deep in nostalgiatown is where my true heart rests. I am not alone in this. One fellow that springs to mind is the excellent Thantsants, who maintains the splendid Somewhere the tea's getting cold blog. Pure old school goodness, check it out.

And so, I leave you to muse on your own favourite period, sculptor or range among the many wonderful toys available to us lucky, lucky people.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inferno Golems - Searching for Models

I've been searching for suitable models to represent inferno golems for the chaos dwarf army I'm constructing. I think I've found the perfect machines. This is a mercenary warjack from Warmachine, and I think he looks the business. I'm torn whether to field three or six golems. The list is new to me, and I'm tempted to field six. So far I've bought two mercenary jacks. This fellow will certainly be the leader of the unit. Some runes of Hashut, maybe some themed basing, and I think they will look suitably chaos dwarfy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fimm Champion - Finished!

The first of my fimir finally steps from the mists! I'm pretty happy with his skin, which was what gave me the most grief. His tattoos were a little fiddly, but putting down the tattoo in a darker skin tone before adding the blue seemed to embed them better and made them look less drawn on. This one-eyed murderer is destined to be a fimm unit champion. I like his ragged cloak, it will mark him out from his fellows nicely. The resin swamp base has plenty of detail, but not so much I couldn't add a little more foliage. I painted the flora at the back of the base to mimic heather in flower, which would grow in boggy areas. I'm quite keen to try one of Bloodmoon minis bog raiders now, as they are a bit more detailed than this old fellow.

This concludes my three mini break from my to-do list. Now, back to that corpse cart...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

List Building in Warhammer 8th edition

This post's topic is once again brought to you by Kuffeh, from The Trading Post. It's a biggie, and known to spark more than a little controversy when meta-gaming comes into it: list building.

For myself, my list revolves primarily around a narrative. I often have a back story emerging for an army when I make the list, and my choices will reflect this, within reason. I don't necessarily begin with any particular section. I'll add a character, some core, a special, go back and maybe give the character an item, and in that way slowly massage the list into shape. I do, of course, consider tactics, which will on occasion jar with my theme for the army. A good example of this is my angst about skeletons which is gone into in more detail here.

This is not the way to go when preparing for a tournament, so most of my lists would be considered 'soft' lists, but then, when the top tables reasonably consistently feature the same armies in roughly the same configurations, I think there are other problems. What I love to see is an oddball army or list winning a tourney. I find some players approach to list building a little soulless, if I am honest. They pick what is regarded as a top tier army, then calculate the list that will earn them victory regardless of theme or cheese content. (This is fine, if you like that kind of thing.) They calculate percentages for amount of hits translating into wounds yadda yadda. For me, no. I want to try to attach a little emotive connection to the army, which is hard when all they are is a bunch of probabilities.

And so, meta-gaming. You may have guessed, I'm not all that into it. Yes, you can't ignore new units and rules as they come into the game in general, but I generally design a list independent of consideration about what opponent I might be facing, and to be frank, most times I don't know anyway, as there are usually a bunch of folks to choose from. I guess, it's about your attitude to gaming. If you have a single regular opponent and you are both designing lists to overcome the other, all is well. This might even have some theme introduced into it. Dwarf miners in a list built  to fight skaven in a game set underground, for example. But if you pop into a store, game-centre or dank cave with a list and your opponent builds one on the spot to counter your particular faction/list, knowing your army is a general list, I say NAY!

The question is, is it fair? I want to beat my opponent into the turf knowing we had a balanced (and also fun) game. Call me a dreamer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fimm Champion - Work in Progress

Here's my first fimir as he is at the moment, all shiny and half-done. I've been following the suggestions laid down in Warpstone 25, bar the skintone. I wanted something more fleshy, as the fimir are half human after all. There was plenty of examples of tattoos in the book, but anything vaguely Celtic will look right. This fellow is a devotee of the daemon prince Lisaart, and has Lisaart's snake tattoo on his shoulder, no doubt a gift from his meargh for some deed of cunning. An important point to the background in this guide is that the daemons that the fimir deal with have nothing to do with chaos. He should be done in a day or two, once I've finished his base, added some more highlights, attached his sheepskin cloak and matt varnished the hell out of him.

Zombie Toad!

Dave King, of the wondrous Bederken miniatures, is making me a zombie toad. Fantastic. Now, if anyone uses sivejir's hex scroll on me, I can whip this guy out. Not that I'll be happy about having my guy turned into a toad, but to have a specific undead toad? Splendid.

It also looks like a slew of new Dwerg goodness is about to break from Bederken, huzzah! It's like having miniatures come directly out of your mental wish-list and right through the letterbox. Now all he needs to do is start sculpting Fimir for me to explode in a shower of joy.

Upcoming Dwerg and zombie toad post

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Giant Spiders - The Arachnarok

Continuing GW's slew of giant beasties, look at this guy. You'd need more than a rolled-up newspaper for this fellow. I have to say, at first glance I'm loving it, though it's waaayy too big for the base. It's a 95 piece kit. I'm wondering how I could work it into my vampire counts army...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Proxies - Dispelling the Illusion

Proxy models. I'm sure we've all come across them in our time. Many of us have used them too, if necessity demanded. I've always found them a little...depressing, and this is coming from a fellow who has had to resort to this practice himself. (Egad, I'm talking about myself in the third person, that can't be good.)

Delving as little deeper, there are times when proxy models can't be avoided. If you want a game and just can't get the models you need, or can't afford it, or it's currently on the workbench, fair enough. You might want to try out a unit or character before you go and buy the models. Again, no worries. It goes without saying this applies only to friendly games. Try turning up at most tournaments with an inappropriate proxy model. This is NOT the same as counts as, in my book. Counts as allows players to let their creative juices flow. I've seen great themed armies with superb counts as models, such as Dan's/Nyhil's wonderful skaven as dark eldar at Ten Inch Template . I play an undead cyclops as a vargulf. Now he's on the correct size base, is about the same mass, my opponent knows the score, so all is good. Proxies tend to be hasty stand-ins.

"That's a what now?"
Where I do have a problem with proxies is where they are repeatedly used, where the gamer plays the unit often and just doesn't bother fielding the proper unit, or an unassembled or unpainted model. A good friend of mine has more than once planted an empty 50x100 base and informed me that this is a stegadon. It is even more annoying when the invisible stegadon tramples over my ghouls. I went so far as to track down a model for the man. This kind of thing kills the illusion. This is why we paint the models, build the terrain and so on. It creates a very pleasing illusion. Nothing shatters that faster than a big unit of silver minis tacked to their bases with blue tack.

Which is exactly what I've been doing with my skeletons. Sigh. The ghouls are on the bench to take over, but every game the silver skellies make me wince.

I think it ultimately comes down to a respect for your opponent as well as a desire to build a beautiful army of miniatures. If they are willing to play you with their painted army, fleet, warband, legion or giant robots, then you should answer with the same, if you can.

Back to those ghouls...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chaos Dwarf - Obsidian guard the first

Here's the first of my little evil stunties. I feel a tear welling as I put him in the cabinet, I've been so long musing and mulling over starting this army that actually doing so is a little emotional. It's a rare enough army, so it'll be a head-turner at tourneys and such, one hopes. He's a nice one too, a vicious little cyclops axeman. Go forth little one, and whip the legs from your enemies!

Here's to painting his comrades in short order. Ba-dum-tish!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chaos, no, Khaos, er, I mean Abyssal dwarves.

Here's a shot of the new blacksouls from Mantic. Overall, I'm somewhat disappointed. The heads are what I don't care for the most. There are a couple of good ones, a full face dog helm and a weird eyeball-like helm, but most of the others are kind of silly looking. They seem awkward, though I'll withhold final judgement until I see the sprues. Mantic seem to be trying to catch the big hat chaos dwarf fans and the original spiky stunty fans. I would be the latter, but I think they might be falling between two stools. I will probably get one box to see if I can cobble together some decent command figs and fill some gaps in my lines, but I won't be waiting under the letterbox with my hands open.

Let's hope the decimators are better.

Wayland Games

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