Hobby Progress, week 43

Hey everybody,
Much like last week‘s exciting installment, week 43 hasn’t seen a great deal of activity on the little people front, unfortunately, though mainly due to the fact I’ve been suffering with a really bad cold. Fortunately that’s starting to clear up now, but still!

Hobby Progress 43

My Alpha Legion Recon Squad is finished, and I am quite happy with how they’ve turned out overall. The resin wasn’t my favourite thing to work with, of course, but I do like the look of the models from a tabletop perspective! I’ve not really done that much to them since last week, as it happens – the eyes, the lenses, and the base rims, that’s pretty much been it! The cloaks have been painted Abaddon Black, then shaded with Nuln Oil, then I went over them in a vaguely highlighting manner with a 1:2 mix of Abaddon Black and Kabalite Green, trying to give a really subtle suggestion of colour without being too overpowering. I think they look okay, anyway, so I’m happy to have them finished.

Hobby Progress 43

Omegon has also been finished off, same cloak treatment, the face has just had some attention from Doombull Brown, Druchii Violet, then a drybrush of Doombull Brown and Gorthor Brown. I might go back in with some Cadian Fleshtone for the final highlight, but I’m worried I might be overdoing it on that front, so I’m trying to avoid it for the time being! I’d also tried to brighten up some of the silver on the Contemptor Dreadnought, but on reflection, I don’t actually think it’s made a difference!

The only other thing I’ve been up to this week has been a return to some Necrons! After my game the other week, I’ve been feeling the need to complete these guys, so have started with the gold and the faces.

Forever, I’ve been painting Necron heads Celestra Grey then White Scar, and as time has progressed, I feel that it makes them look too stark. Plus, a lot of the faces have brushmarks on them because White Scar is so thin. I’ve been re-evaluating my colour scheme for these chaps, and I think I’ve missed the point of my original idea – the head is supposed to be Celestra Grey and Ulthuan Grey, with a faint highlight along the brow of White Scar. Hm. I’m trying to build anew rather than planning to strip the old models and start again, replacing them slowly over time, though I have five partially painted Lychguard so have gone back and repainted the faces as part of this ongoing project. The other five in the above instagram have also now been painted, so they’re ready for this Ulthuan Grey business. I’m hoping, anyway, that I’ll be able to get some nice-looking guys by the end of all this…

Necron Lychguard

Finally, I’ve built up ten tactical marines for my Alpha Legion.

Remember last week, I made a kind of hobby-pledge to get myself motivated and inspired and whatnot? Well a couple of days later, my local GW hobby group had been talking about the new Burning of Prospero box and some non-40k players were thinking of getting into 30k. One thing led to another, and now a bunch of us are all going to be doing a different Legion, with a kind of paint-along event similar to the Tale of Four Warlords that inspired me initially. Only there’ll be about a dozen warlords… Well, anyway! The first step was agreed on Friday to be one troop choice and one HQ choice by 1 December, so I promptly built up this ten man squad, and have got them primed and ready! Aside from the sergeant, I’ve left off the combat blades as I want to visually differentiate them from the bolter-carrying veteran tactical marines that I have, but even with that aside, I’m expecting to get them done very quickly as my scheme seems to be really easy. Either that, or I’ve just gotten so used to it over the last few months that I can really just churn them out!

I’m fully expecting to have the troops painted within two weeks (I have an essay due this coming week, so I don’t expect much before Thursday!) Already having a chaplain built and finished, I’m therefore set for my store’s challenge, and so can devote the rest of November to my other project, the Rhino! I bought one yesterday, and already have the Legion-specific doors, so I’ll probably build that up if I’m looking for something to break up the degree this week, then I can just get going on that. Despite the fact that it’s obviously much bigger than anything else I’ve done for the Legion so far, the principle is still very much the same, so I’m not anticipating any severe issues along the way! Famous last words…

So there we have it, anyway. Things are slowly progressing, and hopefully November will see a lot of stuff finished and off the table – as well, hopefully, as some gaming action!

Upcoming Games!

We’re rapidly heading towards Christmas, which can only mean one thing: big games are coming! Okay, so it probably means more than that, but still! There are a lot of interesting things on the horizon, some nearer than others, so I thought for today’s game day blog, I’d ramble a little about these upcoming delights!

Burning of Prospero

The Burning of Prospero is coming out this weekend, and it looks spectacular. Along with a mass of Mk-3 Space Marines, we’re getting some of the most exciting models to be released by Games Workshop in quite a while! I had the chance to look at the sprues at my local store on Saturday, and those Custodes and Sisters of Silence are both amazing. I was even surprised to find myself excited by the Space Wolves character – normally I don’t go in for those guys, but the level of detail on him was fantastic! Definitely looking forward to getting a hold of this one!

The preview video put out by GW last week spends a lot of time talking about the theme of the game, before really quickly glossing over the rules, which at first made me wonder if the substance is in the theme rather than the mechanics. I really like the idea of using more than just d6s in the game, but I think I’ll need to look through the box myself before forming a real opinion. It looks fantastic, but as a game, I’ll reserve judgement. Of course, most people will likely be buying this for the miniatures rather than to play the game, but I have heard some good stuff about Betrayal at Calth, so I think it would be good to look at it in both aspects. Being mark three marines, I’m not overly keen, so more so than with Calth, I’m thinking I’d probably keep this as an actual game. Though I may break out the Custodians and the Sisters for other purposes…!

I don’t think it’s technically right to call it an expansion or anything for last year’s Betrayal at Calth, but more another game – another starting point – in the Horus Heresy universe. And speaking of alternative starting points for games…

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

We’re also on the brink of the next game in the Shadows of Brimstone line from Flying Frog Productions: Forbidden Fortress! Turns out the wandering samurai hero class was a portent of things to come, as we delve into Feudal Japan and all sorts of weird goings-on there! We’ll be fighting Japanese spirits in the third core set for the game, which is kinda exciting that it can both be added to or used independently of the existing material. I also like the idea that they’re reviving one of the missed stretch goals, the Belly of the Beast other world, for this one.

However, Shadows of Brimstone has been a bit of a let-down for me, if I’m being completely honest. The latest update, which not only served to formally announce the upcoming kickstarter (after the GenCon reveal) but also detailed the ongoing work on several other aspects of the Brimstone stuff, such as the Blasted Wastes, and I’m feeling really excited for it once more. However, it’s been almost three years since the game was kickstarted, and almost two years since I took delivery of the two core sets. The game is okay, the components felt a bit rushed, but more than anything I’m kinda pissed that so much of this material is available to retail, while the actual backers have to either wait or pay more money to get. That attitude saddens me, though, because the kickstarter was so badly handled that the company made it too good of a deal, and so I completely understand that they’d want to make as much as they could off the stuff. But that knowledge doesn’t take the bad taste away for me.

Kickstarter in general has become something of a hazardous area for me in the last year or so, however, and I’m no longer willing to invest in anything from there, partially because of the poorly handled campaigns such as this or Journey, which is kinda sad really.

I’ll certainly be checking the campaign out, of course, and look out for my long-overdue game day blog on Shadows of Brimstone, which I intend to bring out early December!

Blood Bowl

I think most gamers are aware the quintessential Fantasy football game Blood Bowl is making its long-awaited return to miniature war gaming before Christmas, although if I’m honest, the first time I’ve shown genuine interest in the game was actually when I came to write this blog!

I’m a big fan of the card game from Fantasy Flight, Blood Bowl: Team Manager, so I’m not entirely ignoring this. However, certainly within my local area, enthusiasm for the game seems mostly driven by nostalgia for the original, which I can’t pretend to share.

I think the miniatures look really great, for sure, though unlike with pretty much any of the other games they’ve put out for me to see so far, these things don’t look like they’d translate into any other game system. I suppose the Orcs might, but they all look like they’re American football players, after all…

Overall, I’m not that convinced with this one, and might need to see more or even play a game or two before making my mind up on Blood Bowl. I’m sure it’ll be great, though it might just not be for me…

We’ve seen a lot of boxed games coming out of Nottingham this year, and it’s been a really great time to see Games Workshop returning to their roots of an actual workshop of games. While I’m not necessarily chomping at the bit for stuff like Epic or Necromunda, I hope that we’ll be seeing a lot of great stuff like Deathwatch: Overkill and Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower in the years to come!

Hobby Progress, week 42

Hey everybody!
I feel like not a lot of progress has been made this week, due to work on my degree stepping up a notch, but I have still managed to do some interesting stuff, so let me introduce you to the latest project: Alpha Legion Reconnaissance Squad!

hobby progress 42

These chaps are Forge World resin, and are my first foray into this stuff this year – the Contemptor Dreadnought having been built last year, of course. These things were a bit of a pain, sadly, as resin isn’t my favourite material, and tidying them up was annoying, then getting the things to stick together. But after two dunks in washing liquid, they were still a little shiny, and I was concerned the release agent may still be on them so tried to scrape a bit of that off as well. In short, I didn’t have much of a good time with them!

Luckily, I had no problems with the primer, but as I’ve been painting them with my traditional Alpha Legion scheme, I’ve begun to notice a lot of flaws in the resin that I’ve missed in cleaning them, particularly on the sniper rifles.

But still, there they are!

So, in addition to the usual stuff, I’ve painted the inside of their cloaks with Kabalite Green and shaded with Coelia Greenshade. The outside of the cloaks is going to be done in Abaddon Black, perhaps with a vague highlight of something green-y. Haven’t quite decided yet. For Omegon, I’ve also painted his head with Doombull Brown, and I’m considering going for a dark tone with maybe purples in there. Again, haven’t quite decided yet…

So that’s pretty much it for the week!

I’m expecting the progress to somewhat slow down in the coming weeks, at least while I get immersed in the degree, but I’m still intending to continue with the painting while I get moving there. Having been reading through the latest White Dwarf, and the Tale of Four Warlords feature again, I’m thinking about adding a bit more structure to what I’m doing, particularly with my Alpha Legion.

As I mentioned last week, I now have 800 points of Alpha Legion miniatures, and the recon squad will add a further 175 equipping them with sniper rifles and cameleoline. Omegon doesn’t actually have rules, but I’m planning to use those for Exodus from the Age of Darkness book, which will be an additional 115 – 1090 points in total once these are finished! Wonderful!

So, what’s next?

Currently at the top of my list is a Rhino – I’ve still got the Ultramarines Razorback going on of course, but still! I bought the Legion Rhino doors last year for my birthday, so I’m quite excited to see what a Rhino would look like in the scheme. So I’m hoping to pick one of them up soon! I also need to work on some basic tactical marines of course, as I do actually need some troop choices for this thing to actually work! I’ve been looking at list-building for it, and have 180 points of that to work on (plasma pistols for flavour!) to bring it all up to a total 1305 points. Inching closer to 1500!

So here’s my pledge – by the end of this month, my Recon Squad and Omegon will be finished. By the end of November, I’m then going to have a Rhino finished, also. Somewhere in there, I’m also hoping to get some tactical marines done – I guess it’ll depend on how the Recon Squad goes first…

Warhammer 40k!

Hey everybody!
It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and today I thought I’d talk about a game of Warhammer 40k I had last week! It was my second such game in the last eighteen months, Necrons vs Astra Militarum, and we went for a total of 1500 points. Not that I’m any kind of regular of course, but I was trying a couple of things that were different from my first game, though kept the core of Lychguard and Immortals…

(I didn’t have my phone with me, unfortunately, so apologies for the dearth of actual game pictures!)

Necrons

I had four squads of Immortals, three Lychguard with warscythes and two squads with swords and shields. I also had a unit of Deathmarks, one unit of Wraiths, a Cryptek, an Overlord (with Resurrection Orb that I didn’t realise had a points cost), and an Annihilation Barge. 1493 points all told, against lots of Imperial Guard (the Praetorian version), a Chimera, a Leman Russ Executioner, and a Leman Russ battle tank. Urgh!

My first two rounds went pretty okay – I managed to thin out a lot of the guardsmen, and my Deathmarks came in round two and annihilated the platoon command squad. I’d managed to get my Wraiths across the table and locked up two squads of the guard in close combat, which was kinda fun! But that was kinda where my luck ended. I did manage to destroy the Command Squad with my Wraiths, and my Lychguard managed to wipe out a squad of Ogryns, but that was that! The Executioner tank managed to pull the game back from me, and wiped out far too many of my chaps, while my Annihilation Barge continued to do nothing but fire at the trees.

Necrons Wraiths

Overall, it was a really good game for me, as I continue to attempt to learn the game. It was really just a battle game, where we both tried to wipe out each other’s forces, which I think made things kinda straightforward as I wrestled with the rules, but while I think I do have a fairly decent grounding now, it’s the sort of thing that I feel I need to try and get more games with to let the rules sink in.

Necrons Immortals

I mean, sure, movement is fairly straightforward and, having no psykers in my army, my actual role in the Psychic Phase is minimal. Shooting is okay, as I’ve not somewhat gotten my head around the business of subtracting the unit’s Ballistic Skill from 7 to find out the number you need to equal or exceed, though I find that overly-complicated. Having to then compare the weapon’s Strength to the target’s Toughness to find out if you actually wound the model you’re firing at has always seemed like an unnecessary step, especially given the fact there’s no easier way of determining this than consulting a chart each time. Though I’m sure, given time, a lot of the numbers will sink into memory. I do hope they do something with this in 8th Edition however, as it makes the game into a general morass of dice-throwing to resolve a single shot. We’ll see.

Necrons Lychguard

Close combat is where I still fall down, and one of the main reasons for me bringing all those Lychguard and the Wraiths. I actually think the overall mechanic of the game here is quite good – models declare a charge, during which the defenders get to fire back in a panic, then each model batters the other in Initiative order. Given that this is a game, and thus needs a rules set, I think this is the best implementation of a melee – rather than all of your models getting to go first simply because you were the one who charged, you know? It allows for a lot more tactical decision-making as you try to work out if it’s worthwhile declaring a charge, if your models are predominantly lower Initiative than your opponent and so forth. I also really liked the idea of Leadership tests, and models being hunted down as they run off the table. More than anything, though, I love the fact that Commissars shoot troopers in the head to prevent running away, that was very entertaining and highly flavourful to me!

Of course, for the actual meat of the fight you’re still working with byzantine charts to work out whether you hit and wound your opponents, so I hope they can do something with that, but still!

Necrons Deathmarks

I lost this game due to losing too many of my units to that damn Leman Russ and its plasma cannons. I had three units of Lychguard with warscythes because, in my last game, they shredded at least one tank, but having to walk them across the table really didn’t do me any favours. Time to both get that Night Scythe painted, and get another one, I think! My Reanimation Protocols didn’t always go so well, so I think I may need to start looking at doing more with Crypteks (the one I brought didn’t join any unit, and was taken out fairly soon anyway). Even that Overlord having the Resurrection Orb didn’t save him in his unit, which I suppose was just as well, given the fact I forgot to pay for it!

Even though I lost, I did really enjoy it, as I’m getting a much better handle on the rules and whatnot. Don’t get me wrong, I still forgot a lot of rules – critically, my Wraiths having an invulnerable save – but I think the overall framework is sinking in more. More importantly, as mentioned on Sunday, it’s made me start to look critically at how I build up new units for the army, going for stuff that looks useful rather than what looks cool. I’ll never be a power-gamer, and I’ll always go for style over substance, but in building up that group of Praetorians at the weekend, I just didn’t see the point of building them with particle shredders…

So overall, I think Warhammer 40k is a game that I’d really like to get to know better – which is a relief, considering the sheer weight of miniatures I have for this game is enough to sink a battleship! Now, I just need to get moving and actually get some more games in!

Necrons Overlord

Hobby Progress, week 41

Hey everybody!
It’s suddenly closer to the end of the year now, and I’ve started to look a lot more at the models I’ve had on the table for the duration of 2016 (and before) in an attempt to get more stuff finished before I get to week 52 of this blog series. While I’m not really getting very far, I am nevertheless thinking about finishing off more models than I am building more. But anyway, let’s take a look at some of the excitement from this week!

hobby progress 41

First of all, it’s this big guy’s time to shine! My Alpha Legion Contemptor Dreadnought is finished, and I’m really pleased with how he’s turned out! The armour had already been painted a few months back now, of course, but all of the silver details had been kinda scaring me. Finally, on Friday I had the day off work so decided to just finish him, and over the course of about four hours I got everything finished! It’s actually fairly simple, too – the silver is just Leadbelcher, with some Runefang Steel lightly brushed over the more prominent hydras on the front there. The right arm and leg have rope tassels that I’ve painted with Kabalite Green and then highlighted with Warpstone Glow, which I’ve also dotted into the eyes of the chest hydras, before rubbing off to leave it more as a suggestion, and I think it works better that way.

The biggest problem I had, though, was just what they hell possessed me to pose the legs in that manner! I built him up over New Year, and at the time I’m sure I had a plan, but when it came to actually basing the big guy, I had no idea how to get him secure – I’ve finally gone for one of those piles of skulls you can get from GW, though I feel he’d have crushed them to powder if he actually did tread over them… But anyway, I think it still looks pretty cool, and with that load-out, he’s 190 points, bringing my total Legion up to 800 points! I’m slowly getting there, now!

I got to play a game of 40k on Thursday, which was pretty great, too! 1500 point game with my Necrons, a lot of which were unpainted/partially painted (which will hopefully inspire me to get moving and finish them!) I’ll have a blog coming out on Tuesday with more on this, but I have to say, now that the rules are beginning to sink in, I’m seeing the benefits of building models in a specific way. For example, the squad of Triarch Praetorians that I’ve built up this weekend:

I have previously built up some Praetorians, back when I was first doing things with Necrons, and I have to say, they aren’t all that great. More than anything, they’re a mixed unit, and while I think those particle casters are cool looking, they look pretty bad in the game, so I’m probably not going to bother doing any more of them.

In fact, I’m actually thinking I’m possibly going to just re-start collecting Necrons, as my painting has come on a lot since I started. Part of me also wants to strip the models I have and have a second stab at them, but part of me is thinking I might just keep them as a sort of “this is where I started” or something. Not sure yet, but for now at least, I want to add and replace models in my army…

Finally… I entered Armies on Parade this year! My board was basically all of my Stormcast Eternals going up against a lone Orruk Brute defending an Ophidian Archway. It was really fun getting to join in with everything going on at the store yesterday, and some of those boards on display were just superb! I was definitely at the lower end of the range, let me tell you – sandwiched between an amazing Helms Deep diorama, and a collection of Eldar stuff that looked fantastic! But it was great to take part, and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year – I’m actually hoping to move closer to my local store in the coming year (not so as to be closer to the store – that’ll just be a fringe benefit!) so I may be able to get something more ambitious going on and not have to contend with the logistics of transporting it too far! We’ll see.

In the end, my store had 30 entries, which is believed to have been the biggest such event in the world! In all of that, my army placed seventh, which I think is an amazing achievement, considering I don’t feel like I’m all that good of a painter! So I’m chuffed there! My favourite board was this amazing three-tier Genestealer Infestation thing:

While the overall winner was the incredible Nagash and friends:

Did you enter Armies on Parade this year? Let me know how you got on in the comments!!

The Burning of Prospero!

Oh my goodness, this thing sounds fabulous!

We’ve been hearing the rumours of this coming out for a good few weeks now, with the leaked cover of November’s White Dwarf showing us what we can expect from the much-wanted follow-up to last year’s Betrayal at Calth. But now, it’s here! Well, it’s at least in our sights! And it looks amazing!

Well, first of all we have thirty Mk III Space Marines, which I’m not entirely as excited by as the Mk IV, but they do still kinda look cool. In fact, they are kinda growing on me. Of course, it’s not the main draw here!

Burning of Prospero

I think these chaps look fantastic, and definitely one of the major draws for me. Being a Stormcast Eternals fan, of course, I suppose it’s no surprise, but these guys do look great. Looking forward to seeing the sprues for these guys, as I hope they can be posed into some really cool-looking miniatures!

Burning of Prospero

Of course, the Sisters of Silence do look pretty awesome, though I’m hoping they can all be outfitted with helmets, as I do prefer that look to them…

Burning of Prospero

Finally, I love that Ahriman model, and kinda wish the two special characters from Betrayal at Calth could have been more Legion-specific. But I suppose maybe this is to support the forthcoming Thousand Sons line we’re hopefully getting

Indeed, hopefully this box will be a portent of some awesome things to come – a full Adeptus Custodes line, the Sisters of Silence leading into the much hoped-for plastic Adepta Sororitas! Well… who the hell knows…

All I can say is, I’m getting at least one of these bad boys!

New Rogue One trailer!

I’m still trying to digest the awesome new Rogue One trailer that came out yesterday – while I’ve been trying to avoid getting into the small details of any and all spoilers (I followed Attack of the Clones‘ development closely, and it didn’t end well), every so often I’ve been trying to keep up with the film news that’s out there, and I do feel a lot better predisposed towards it as a result!

I’m rambling already…

In my blog from April about the first trailer, I was feeling a bit dejected about the way in which the new canon was rehashing old ground, and I think that was pretty symptomatic of my thoughts on Star Wars in general at that time. However, over the course of the summer, I have become such a convert to the new canon, not least in part thanks to the awesome Star Wars New Canon Book Club (which you should totally check out if you aren’t listening already).

Recovering the Death Star plans has been gone over so often in previous books and comics and video games, I was feeling a bit jaded by it all. But the fact that we’re getting a film about it – which is kinda telling us the ‘official’ story or whatever – is really exciting to me! I think the characters look great, even if some of them might be a bit too caricature-like (but I guess that’s what Star Wars has always had…) The locations also look really cool – something that is always important to me – and while I am still a bit concerned that the effects and whatnot will make the original trilogy look kinda crummy by comparison, I’m really trying to overlook that and just go with the idea of this being a really great film.

Rogue One

Something else that I’m kinda excited about is the possible links to the new sequel trilogy, such as Donnie Yen’s character Chirrut Îmwe being a regular guy who reveres the Force, rather than a Jedi per se. Links into this idea of a Church of the Force, which is something that adds a lot of the mysticism back into the universe after that nuts-and-bolts midichlorians business, and I hope becomes more of a thing for Star Wars as time goes on.

Rogue One

I’m also really intrigued by the Imperials in this film, mainly because I’m interested in how Director Krennic (above) features into the hierarchy of the project. I’m pretty sure Tarkin is overall responsible, and Krennic first came across as the type of character who was written in because no suitable Peter Cushing lookalike actor could be found, so I’m curious as to what we’ll be seeing in the upper echelons of Imperial society. I also hope we can perhaps see a lot of the other guys from the lore, such as Yularen or Evax, who could potentially be re-cast with no fuss whatsoever. Of course, these are now Legends, so I guess the film will be primarily concerned with new blood, but it’s exciting to think about!

You know what, I’d almost forgotten about Catalyst coming out next month! James Luceno is one of my absolute favourite authors, and his lead-in novels to both The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith are absolute classics for me. I am absolutely going to pounce all over this novel in a month’s time, I cannot wait!

I am now totally on board for pretty much everything that is coming out for Star Wars – the classic canon that I grew up with will always be there for me, of course, but more than anything, I am totally enraptured by the feeling of new that pervades Star Wars, and that is something I never thought to experience again. Bravo, Disney, bravo!