No time for games?

Hey everybody,
It’s another game day here at spalanz.com, and today I thought I’d deviate from the norm, and ramble a little more than usual in what may turn out to be a shorter blog. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, at any rate, so why not!

Long-term readers of this blog, aside from being a handsome bunch, will no doubt be aware of the fact that I moved house recently. I actually bought a house, which itself is something of an achievement, of course! But it comes with a lot of attendant responsibility, naturally, and the particular house that I’ve moved to has been in need of a little work. It’s not falling apart, but it’s not how I’d like it, you know? Anyway. I guess my energy has been channeled into that, leaving me with very little time for anything else.

It may be that increased sense of responsibility, or the increased financial responsibility if nothing else, but I’m finding myself with no real time – and crucially, no real inclination – to play games. In the couple of months since I started packing up my life, I’ve managed three games of Warhammer 40k, which in itself, is an intriguing achievement, but nothing else.

new games

Part of the reason for this, I feel, is that I’m still getting the measure of the new place, and where I can do things. The dining table that I used to play on, which used to be sat in front of a window in my old flat, is now in a comparatively darker corner, and doesn’t lend itself well to long gaming sessions.

In a recent effort to combat this, however, I bought myself The Dreamlands expansion for Eldritch Horror, which has of course been out for a number of months now, but which I hadn’t yet managed to pick up. I thought, getting myself something I’d thought about for a while, for a game that I do very much enjoy, might bring me out of this gaming funk. However, after a week sat at the top of my stairs, I’ve now put it away with the other expansions for that game, largely unlooked-at. It’s a similar story with Path to Carcosa, which I’d picked up the other week in an effort to kick-start my campaign idea for the Arkham Horror LCG, but which has also remained unopened since I bought it.

I suppose this could well just be me over-reacting to a temporary situation, as I try to readjust to the new surroundings and stuff. I do have walls to paint and a kitchen to replace, and have been spending more time at DIY stores than I have been with games, but once the house is more to my liking, I’d guess I’ll be back to it. I’m having some vague ideas about trying to get my girlfriend into playing some games, so that could also be an opening.

The new Magic set, Ixalan, is releasing on Friday, and while I’ve been a bit out of things during the last few months with Amonkhet block going on, I have perked up some more at the thought of vampires and pirates and dinosaurs all running around, so if nothing else, I’m hopeful that I can get some more decks built and see some more cards played!

I’m very curious as to how long this situation is going to last, at any rate…

Kickstarter Burnout?

Last week, I read this really insightful article on the place of Kickstarter games in today’s gaming culture, and was inspired to take a look at my own experiences and opinions on the pre-order system for today’s game day blog.

Now, I’m not exactly a kickstarter expert, although I have backed a modest number of such things over the years. A quick look at my boardgamegeek collection shows a total of 5:
Fallen
Ghostbusters
Journey: Wrath of Demons
Lagoon
Shadows of Brimstone

Along with 4 previously owned:
Blood Rage
Draco Magi
Nova Cry
Red Dragon Inn 4
(Additionally, I’ve bought games like Thunderbirds and Xenoshyft: Onslaught after the kickstarter backing period, though both of these games have since been sold on).

I’ve talked about quite a few of these games on my blog over the years, as it happens, and I’m still intending to feature Shadows of Brimstone at some point in the not-too-distant future (maybe when I eventually get everything that I paid for…) Looking at this list, however, after reading the article from The Opinionated Gamers, has made me think about my history with Kickstarter in general, from the heady days of 2013 when I was chomping at the bit for games like Fallen and Shadows of Brimstone. In particular, it’s made me consider how I feel about the system these days.

My brief history
So I actually used Kickstarter originally to support Christopher West, who made a lot of the maps for the Star Wars Miniatures game. I think I bought four of his map packs in total, and they were really nice, solid products that I was happy to include within my game collection. At the time, I wasn’t playing a massive amount of board games, having recently split up from my ex (who had initially introduced me to tabletop games like Carcassonne). I bought the maps, used them a couple of times, then slowly moved away from SWM anyway.

Then, somehow, I discovered Slugfest Games were making a fourth Red Dragon Inn game via Kickstarter, and so returned to the site to check it out. I think I managed to get in at the very end of the campaign, but still got all of the nice exclusive drinks and stuff. Score one for me!

It was RDI4 that seemed to set me off the rails, though, as I would browse KS for other tabletop games similar to those old stalwarts of my collection such as Runebound, and it was with no small measure of excitement that I discovered Fallen. There are a lot of issues with the company here, which I won’t get into now, but Fallen itself is actually a really good game. It has beautiful art, and plays fairly straightforwardly, though is really quite the immersive experience. Definitely a good card game.

Fallen

Over the months, I backed a series of other, progressively bigger games, including the behemoth that is Shadows of Brimstone. I’ve talked about this game extensively on my blog already, though still haven’t managed to do an actual game day blog on it. At any rate, you may already know that I dropped thousands of dollars on the game (I’m actually in it!) and yet, once the core games were delivered, I was distinctly underwhelmed. With the arrival of games like Blood Rage and Journey, I began to re-evaluate my relationship with Kickstarter and, while both these games have incredibly impressive miniatures, I found that there was a distinct lack of something to these games.

The Problem (I think)
The Opinionated Gamers talk about “the chrome” of these games, and the allure of the shiny, and I think this is a very valid point in this situation. A lot of successful games on Kickstarter have a lot of shiny parts. Be it the glossy fantasy art that graces the cards of Fallen, or the intricately sculpted miniatures in Journey, these games have gone all-in on their style. But how is the substance? Is it even there? Shadows of Brimstone uses a fairly simple game engine that Flying Frog Productions have used in pretty much all of their previous games, yet it has elements added on to make it slightly cumbersome. This is a bit of an exception, because by and large you know what you’re getting from FFP. Other games do feel a little bit hit and miss, and I think this could well be due to the home grown nature of Kickstarter games.

Journey Wrath of Demons

Take Journey: Wrath of Demons, for example. This is a co-op game where players have the option during combat of cleansing the soul of their demon opponent. It sounds like a really neat concept, and from what I remember of the couple of games I’ve played, it was quite interesting, but otherwise the game is the standard dungeon-crawl-style of game with an Oriental setting. Xenoshyft: Onslaught is a deck-building game where you buy cards and they go directly into your hand; otherwise, the game plays pretty much like Thunderstone. These games feel a bit like the designers came up with a cool idea during a game of something else, and decided to implement it on their own. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but it does often feel like, once you’re past that shiny new mechanic, there isn’t really a great deal of substance underneath the game – certainly not enough to compete with those games from established publishers.

The Opinionated Gamers article also mentions playtesting as being more rigorous with established companies, though many Kickstarter games have the promise of “years of development and testing” and the like, and not just those from companies like FFP or CMoN. Being an optimist, I’m inclined to believe them, and I don’t think I’ve yet played a game that doesn’t feel playtested.

Of course, new companies using Kickstarter are – in my experience – more concerned with showing off their beautiful components for their games, and I think this is the major problem with a lot of these games, that they’re all about style over substance. Journey does look beautiful, down to its anatomically-correct bull miniatures, but the gameplay hasn’t been good enough to draw me into playing it any more since September 2015. I haven’t touched Shadows of Brimstone in two years, save to move the box into my closet. Once I’ve seen all of the shiny new stuff, I’m actually quite apathetic towards these games – largely because there isn’t much actual game there.

Ghostbusters board game Cryptozoic

Cryptozoic’s Ghostbusters game was actually pretty decent, with some flavourful mechanics that did actually engage me enough to play a campaign with it, and while I’ve hardly been playing it every weekend, that’s probably more to a shift in my gaming life recently towards fewer large-scale games. Of all of the Kickstarter games that I have, Ghostbusters is probably the only one I find myself wanting to play more of. Though I freely admit that’s probably as much down to my nostalgia for the franchise.

Nowadays
These days, I avoid Kickstarter like the plague. I usually blame my burnout on Shadows of Brimstone, the game that I spent over $2300 on, as the parts that I have so far received, three and a half years after the campaign ended, were distinctly sub-standard. Tony, my regular gaming buddy and the chap who often encouraged my Kickstarter excesses, has completely embraced it and, together with his partner Lee, has backed dozens of projects in recent years. All of these games tend to be miniatures-heavy, though all of them tend to be consigned to the bottom of his pile of games, in favour of stuff like Last Night on Earth and Lords of Waterdeep.

This seems to be the problem with KS games for me. They look amazing, but looks aren’t everything, and I doubt anybody would want to play a dull-as-hell game just because it looks so pretty. There needs to be more than just awesome models to keep you wanting to play it, and even if you feel you need to keep playing it to get your money’s worth (like me and Shadows of Brimstone, for a while!) it’s eventually going to wear on you.

At the top of this post, I mentioned that I previously owned 4 games that I had backed via Kickstarter, and have bought more at retail that I’ve since sold on as well. In addition to this, I’m actually considering off-loading Journey, though I’ll admit that I want to try it again before I do. I think this attitude towards these games does say a lot for my current view, at any rate. There just isn’t enough substance to a lot of these things to make me want to keep them, despite the amount of money I spent in backing them.

I did back the second Ghostbusters game Cryptozoic put out last year, and am cautiously awaiting its delivery, but right now, I think I’m done with Kickstarter. I think I’m just not that interested in pledging my support for a game that is essentially something I already have, just with a couple of minor tweaks and a re-skin. I think I have enough games already, and I’m not really keen on adding more, even if they do come with a myriad of associated micro-expansion “KS Exclusive!” miniatures…

Sunday catch-up!

Hey everybody!
It’s been a busy few days for me, as I’ve been sucked into a lot of stuff with work and whatnot, and I haven’t had a lot of time to check out what’s going on in the world. Well, I thought I’d spend some time today taking a look at all the stuff that I’ve been missing of late!

Let’s start with Warhammer, because why not!

The Age of Sigmar releases continue with more Stormcast stuff, which I’m really no longer convinced by all that much. While at first I liked the idea of having new additions to the line, there is a vaguely unnecessary feel to them to my mind, coupled with the fact that they look almost exactly the same as the original Stormcast dudes. A lot of this Stormcast line has actually felt like GW didn’t really know where they wanted to take things – we started out with expensive five-man squads, now sold in tens, and they’re cheaper than they used to be! Which begs the question, why were they so bloody expensive in the first place, then?! Maybe I’m quite bitter because I spent £60 getting two more boxes, when I could have saved £22.50 if I’d have waited just over a year. Hm. It’s a similar story with the Retributors and the Prosecutors. They were either stupidly over-priced to begin with, or GW was intentionally gouging customers for the first 18 months of the new system to create an artificially good sales record.

Usually, I try to be really positive about GW stuff, and I did like the whole Age of Sigmar thing at first, but this has just left a bad taste for me.

Returning to these new releases, the new scout-type Stormcast don’t really look all that different – am I the only one who thinks the armour is actually the same as the regular guys? It’s not slimmed-down or whatever it’s supposed to be, it’s just the same, but with some wolf-pelts or whatever thrown over the top. Also, some of those bare heads make me think of Space Wolves. Hm. The bare heads are another aspect that I find quite interesting, as if GW is responding to the desire of folks to have Stormcast without the helmets, particularly after the amount of people who have been converting them up. Might be a bit far-fetched, as they do tend to work quite far in advance, but who knows. They look interesting, though I remain unsold on the idea of getting any to add to my force. If I ever see some with a discount, I may pick a box up, of course, but for now, I’ll pass.

The bird-riding guys look silly – more because of the fact that they’re riding lizard-birds or whatever they are. It’s almost like GW are intentionally pushing how far they can take things… At any rate, I’m not convinced, and have only considered getting the crossbow-wielding Raptors because I thought those birds might make useful Razorwing flocks for my Dark Eldar! But again, for now I’m resisting.

That said, the Vanguard-Palladors do have a wonderful sense of dynamism to them that was missing from the Dracothian Guard. At £35 for three models, I can’t honestly justify that expense, but again, if I found some for a significant discount, I might get some.

The one concession I’ve made to all of this right now is getting the new Battletome. Yes, it’s the third book for these guys in less than two years, but I thought it might be useful to take a look at the new units and see the developing lore etc, as well as the new rules for relics and whatnot. I forgot to pick it up when I was in my local store the other day, so will have to try and get back there soon for that, but anyway…

Has anyone been remotely tempted by the new Warhammer Quest game, Shadows over Hammerhal? I enjoyed the first one, but this one is less than interesting to me. I think part of it might be due to the lack of any new models, whereas Silver Tower felt more like an event, or something. I feel like this is a bit of an attempt to emulate the success of the first, and would have preferred to see something more original than using the pre-existing minis. It even seems like it doesn’t know what it wants to be, having minis from all four Chaos gods involved in some weird mash-up.

Again, a bit of a disappointing release, for me…

I suppose all of this isn’t helped by the fact that I’m just far more interested in what’s going on with 40k right now. While we’re still on the cusp of the third and final installment of the Gathering Storm series, which many folks think will be leading directly into 8th Edition, a lot of this AoS stuff feels a little too much like a distraction! I’m looking forward to seeing if there are plans for more accompanying models for the Gathering Storm than just the triumvirates, and I’m eagerly awaiting what else 2017 has in store for the grim dark of the far future…


I’m a little disappointed in the news from Fantasy Flight Games lately, I have to say. While the Arkham Horror card game seems to have taken over the world, I’ve not really seen anything more exciting to come from them for a while now. I find this curious, because I used to be such a huge fanboy for their games, and would incessantly check in with them to see what new amazing thing was coming out. Lately, though, it seems like they’re slowing down on what they’re doing – to me, at least.

The Runewars miniatures game appears to be the next big thing, and maybe they’re just like a wave pulling back before this thing launches – I believe it’s due in April. We’ve had a new expansion each for Eldritch Horror and, just this week, Elder Sign, so I suppose it’s not all exactly quiet. There certainly doesn’t feel like a lot of the excitement that I used to feel for the company, however. I can’t even say that the loss of the Warhammer licence for them will affect me that much as, aside from Conquest, I wasn’t really buying into any of the other things.

I suppose part of the problem for me is that they’re doing a lot of Star Wars games, though I don’t know anybody else who’s interested in these things. The LCG has died a death for me, and Imperial Assault has never even gotten off the ground. X-Wing had a brief surge, though I’ve since lost a lot of interest and am considering selling off at least a portion of that. And Destiny… Destiny still seems interesting to me, and I would like to try it out, but the fact that it’s been out three months or so and I’ve not been in any great hurry to do so does say quite a lot to me.

I do really like the look of their RPG, however, and have been thinking about diving back into that of late. Stay tuned!

I just find this quite curious, so thought I’d offer it up here and see whether 2017 will cause me to change my mind there.


The end has come… #StarWars #newcanon #Aftermath

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Speaking of Star Wars, though, I’ve been up to the elbows in the third Aftermath novel, Empire’s End, since I picked it up on Tuesday. What with work, I’ve not been able to read as much as I’d’ve liked up to this point, but I’m over halfway now, anyway. Expect a blog to come on that one once I’m done! I may even get back to that whole youtube thing…


On Tuesday last week, I posted about my triumphant return to playing Magic. Well, maybe not triumphant, but it was a return, nevertheless. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on youtube since, trying to catch up with what I’ve missed since before Kaladesh happened, and was struck by the little nugget that happened in December, where what is possibly the autumn set for this year was leaked:

It’s an exciting prospect for another plane, what looks to be a cross between Atlantis and Mesoamerican culture. I’m a big fan of such things, anyway, so could see myself getting into that quite extensively. Of course, we don’t really know if it’s going to be a thing – it certainly looks like it will be – even if this was for an internal survey that was more concerned with packaging than anything else, that’s original (as far as anyone can tell) artwork they’ve used, so it would be expensive just for a test. But who knows. Steampunk India followed by ancient Egypt followed by sub-aqueous Maya sounds like the dream, right there! Not forgetting, of course, we’re due for Archenemy in the middle of it all!

Based on all of this, I think WotC might be beating GW for the flavourful new releases right now…

Post 600!

Hey everybody!
It’s my 600th post on my blog! I’m actually still pretty aghast that I made it to 100 posts, if I’m honest, but still! In times gone by, I’ve tried to do something that has a bit of of a celebration about it, such as some short fiction or whatever, but this time I thought I’d do something that is more looking towards the future sort of ramble (rambling is what I do best…)

First of all, I absolutely want to do more of those short stories – they may not be very good, but I do enjoy that whole thing, so I’m planning to devote some time to that in the coming weeks and months. I’ve been off-and-on writing a loose cycle of short stories set in the Star Wars legends universe, something I’m very familiar with from having grown up reading all the novels out there, and back in February last year, I made a start on a new cycle (here) that currently remains unfinished. This is because I lost my notes on the stories I wanted to write, and time just ran away with me. While I make no pretensions at being “a writer” in any kind of serious vein, writing this stuff does please me, so now that I found said notes once again, I do want to get back into doing all that stuff, and see where it can take me. The degree that I’ve been studying is coming to an end this June, so while that has eaten into a lot of the time that I would ordinarily have had to devote to this stuff as well, hopefully I’ll be able to kick myself back into gear from this summer, if not before!

Star Wars logo

Star Wars feels like it has somewhat fallen by the wayside for me lately, with my life seeming to be all about the Warhammer stuff. I suppose this is in part because of the fact I’ve been spending a lot of time up at my local GW over the last few months, getting to know the folks and the game. I’m hoping to get more of the balance back in 2017, and catch up with the recent comics and new canon books, as well as a healthy dose of re-reading some of the now-legends stuff into the mix! I’m still wading my way through the Clone Wars animated series, having left off with season three back in July, so hope to have finished watching season four soon enough.

And of course, Episode VIII will be gracing the blog here in December!

I’m still not sure about what to make of the name – it sounds a bit… flat? Ordinary? I don’t know. There’s also a legends novel with the same name that I haven’t yet made my way around to – not that I expect to glean anything from it about the upcoming movie, but I do enjoy these Dark Times offerings! Might see if I can squeeze it in soon.

One of my first reactions to seeing the title was, “so Luke dies, then?” But it has been pointed out that ‘Jedi’ is both singular and plural, so it might have more of a buddy cop feel as we see Rey learn the ways of the Force from Luke in more of a practical arena? I doubt it, but you never know… Despite the fact that I think the title is ordinary or whatever, I do think it’s gearing up to something quite dramatic and dark, a la Empire.

warhammer 40k

Of course, Warhammer won’t be going away completely, as I continue my quest to learn the game and whatnot! Two things I wanted to do with 2017 are, Paint More and Play More, and while January hasn’t been too shoddy with the former, I’ve not done anything with the latter! We’ll see if that can change soon enough, though. I want to try to get to grips with my Dark Eldar force, as well as continue to build up my Novamarines, and continue to look after the Necrons, finishing off the plethora of half-built and half-painted kits that I have hanging about, as well as revisiting those first models that I painted for the army. And that’s before I even start talking about what I’m doing for Age of Sigmar!

I seem to have been quite intent on my Dark Eldar for a while now, as I’m really fired up for the army and can’t wait to get my space pirates ready for action. Next week’s game day blog will feature some of my research and whatnot, I’m even hoping to have played a kill team game with them by then, so fingers crossed that will be in the blog, as well! I actually managed to slink off to Warhammer World at the end of January, and treated myself to the fancy tanks that are exclusive to plastic heaven there, so look for a bit of an unboxing type of thing coming for those soon!

Space Marine HQ Command Tanks Warhammer World Exclusive

It seems like this blog of mine is becoming entirely split between these two IPs lately, and while that’s largely because of the fact that I’m so heavily involved in both, I will absolutely be rambling without direction on a variety of other topics as the year progresses, so if that isn’t reason enough to stick around, then I really don’t know what else I can tell you!

Aside from 40k, I also want to try to play more games, generally. I do have an extensive board- and card-game collection, though seem to rarely play any of these with any frequency these days. While my degree has been eating into a lot of my available time as it ramps up to the end now, I’m thinking about instigating something where I make sure I play at least one game every month, and seeing where I go from there.

In the meantime, thank you so much to everyone who reads these posts that I throw up every whenever I can, you are clearly a handsome bunch of discerning individuals, and I am always happy to see the odd like and/or comment!

So much change!

Hey everybody!
It’s another week of Change over at Games Workshop, as we enter the third week of Tzeentch releases for Age of Sigmar! After the human cultists and the beastmen, we’re now in the realm of the daemons, including the previously previewed Lord of Change / Kairos Fateweaver.

Tzeentch Kairos Fateweaver

This week’s releases, while exciting, are predominantly re-packs, however. From what I can tell, we have the new Lord of Change, and the Blue/Brimstone Horrors that we’ve previously seen in Silver Tower, but the rest of the range is the pre-existing stuff from back in the day, such as Flamers, Screamers, and Pink Horrors. Bit of a shame that those two “new” Pink Horrors from the boxed game haven’t made an appearance, but I guess they have to keep something in these boxes to prompt folks to buy them! While I might sound a bit down on the release, I do actually like the fact that they’re slowly getting round to re-packing all of their minis in the new stuff, so we have a more consistent look and all the rest of it.

There’s also a new Start Collecting box for Tzeentch daemons, which is good to see! I’ve been toying with the idea of getting more bits to flesh out my Silver Tower enemies for a while, so it would be a good way to do that!

Stormcast Eternals Lord Aquilor

It looks like this is the end of Tzaanuary now, however, with February once more bringing new Stormcast Eternals to the Mortal Realms. I mentioned these the other day, the so-called Rangers of the Stormcast forces, and we’re seeing some more of these guys now, with another Lord Celestant type miniature, the Lord Aquilor (above). Gryph-hounds have always struck me as a bit silly, and I’ve previously used High Elf lions to replace them with my Lord Castellant, but with this new batch of releases… I don’t know. It looks to be a bigger release than last year’s Extremis Chamber, which only gave us the dracoth riders and the stardrake of course, but so many silly animals have left me feeling a bit disappointed, overall.

Unless I can somehow build that Lord Aquilor to look like he’s riding a Tauntaun. That might do the trick…

Reinforcements! #Warhammer40k #DarkEldar #GangsOfCommorragh #awesome

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I’ve picked up the new Gangs of Commorragh boardgame, and I’m very excited for more Dark Eldar, so expect a first look at that bad boy on this Tuesday’s game day blog!

I must admit, I’ve been really slow with painting stuff so far this year, and the purchases in the above instagram picture are kinda unnecessary really – I still have the first Venom only partly painted, after all! I think moving from weekly to monthly painting update blogs may have been a bad move, but keep your eyes peeled for the January update in the next few days, where I’ll talk about this more. While I may have been slow in getting anywhere with painting them, however, I am still very much enjoying the Dark Eldar miniatures!


Age of Sigmar isn’t the only thing to experience Change at the minute, anyway. I’d like to get a little more philosophical for a moment, as I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of late, as is often the case at the start of a year. In 2017, I’m going to be moving house, and while I’m currently renting the flat I’m in, I’ve decided to actually buy myself a house and move away from where I am currently. Naturally, then, I’ve been looking to downsize a lot of the stuff that I’ve managed to accumulate in the time that I’ve been here, to say nothing of what I’d accumulated prior to that! One of the biggest cuts, therefore, is the boardgames that I’ve amassed.

I’ve been slimming down the collection for a while now, and games that have previously featured here on my game day blogs have since been sold on ebay – who knows, you may be reading this having bought one of them! But while I’ve been doing so fairly infrequently up to this point, I think it’s time to really trim the fat now. While I have no intention of cutting back on game day blogs, as it’s one of my favourite aspects of my blog, I suppose it’s entirely possible that there may be a narrowing of focus as my collection shrinks. After all, pretty much every game day blog features a game that I personally own and have played. I think I might try and do more session report type blogs, though, rather than merely churning out review type blogs all the time, and see if I can mix things up a bit! I’d also like to do more news-y type game day blogs, which I did try towards the back end of last year, but haven’t really done that many since.

At any rate, if you’re a regular reader of this here blog – first of all, thank you very much! But let me know if you have any views on these thoughts, as I’m still very much in the sort of planning stages of everything!

For now, at least, the first look at Gangs of Commorragh will be coming up this week, so it’s not about to change overnight!

Hobby Progress, week 52

Well folks, here we are, week 52! It’s been one hell of a year when I look back, with a lot more models painted than I’d thought. But I’ll get into all of that in a little while. First of all, let’s take a look at the week!

First off, I’ve finished the Necron Wraiths that I’d built up about eighteen months ago for a Canoptek Harvest. You can see the original instagram post where I’d built up all the pieces here. I’ve actually built up a fourth at some indeterminate time – I’d bought some wraith bits to make a Cryptek with, and after building the three from the kit I realised I had enough bits to build more! I was convinced I could actually get three more, but alas, I don’t know what I’ve done with those bits anymore… At any rate, these chaps are now finished, which I’m very pleased about, though at times I did feel like I was rushing the blighters, so it’s not what I would call my finest work… That said, I think they do blend in perfectly with the Tomb Stalker that I’d done way back in 2014, so if nothing else, I’m pleased with that!

I’ve also finished up the small batch of Deathwatch marines that I’d started work on a few weeks ago. These chaps were a lot of fun to paint, and I’m really pleased to get them finished. The Iron Warrior isn’t one of my all-time favourite marines, so I was painting him along with some other bits like the Deathwing terminator just to get him done, really. The two vanguard veterans were more enjoyable to do, a Raven Guard and a Blood Angel, even though I had no idea what to do with their shields, and have settled for just painting the imperialis for now. I love dreadnoughts, even if I’m not the quickest at painting them, so was particularly pleased to get this one finished.

I’m not done with the Deathwatch by any means – aside from all of the models that I still have built up and waiting for me to get on with them, it’s a bit of an ambition for me in 2017 to get every possible weapon combination for the veterans built up, and then rather than having them in squads of five or whatever, I can basically assemble a team each time I want to use them. As part of this, then, I think I might also build up another Venerable Dreadnought, as I’ve seen some other ideas online for building them, and fancy giving those a try!

2017 is already starting to excite me!

I’ve also been building stuff – because, of course I have! I want to start with this Leman Russ tank for my Genestealer Cult, because the thing is bloody hilarious! While I do enjoy the tanks of the space marines, I do feel that these Imperial Guard tanks look amazing and, well, tank-y. The Wyvern was a lot of fun to put together, but this Leman Russ was almost better, going together pretty much like a dream! I’d decided to start building it up mainly because I like these things, but I actually have no idea when I’ll be able to get round to painting the thing, as I seem to have so many other projects on the go right now… I think I’ve settled on a colour scheme, which I’ve written down and stuff, so I suppose I just need to get the time! There’ll be more on this shortly, anyway.

I’ve also kit-bashed Armillus Dynat together. Well, I actually clipped the bits off a long while ago, but have only this week gotten round to actually building him. I love the fact that he can wield two weapons like this, and while my original plan for having him with the hammer lowered and the sword raised to strike hasn’t worked out, I still like the fact that he looks somewhat of a centrepiece. The guy has been built out of 5 or 6 different kits, and was a bit of a labour of love in that respect, but I’m now looking forward to getting some paint on him!

The only other thing I’ve done this week is build up the Sisters of Silence from the Burning of Prospero box. I’d thought I’d have done more with these by now, as they were the part of this box set that I was looking forward to the most but, I have to say, I’ve been feeling particularly uninspired by this box. The Sisters look good, don’t get me wrong, and while I’m as excited as anyone for the Custodes, I do feel a little bit overwhelmed by those sculpts, as they look too ornate, somehow. Maybe I’ll think differently once I’ve gotten them built and whatnot. However, the MkIII armoured marines are just not what I would call my favourites, and I bought the box thinking I’d paint it up as the boardgame but, on reflection, I think it’d be better if I just sold these marines and reinvested the cash in something I actually want! So they’re up on ebay, along with the characters. I had briefly entertained the idea of using Ahriman for something else, but don’t think that will come to pass.

So, not the most productive of weeks, though it has been exciting all the same! Now it’s time for the retrospective you’ve all been waiting for!

hobby progress retrospective

So it’s time for the retrospective!

2016 has been a great year for progress with miniatures. Over the course of the year, I feel that I’ve made some real progress with my painting, specifically with how I paint the Deathwatch chaps, and my determination to conquer the fear of painting faces! Of course, I’m still not going to win any awards, but I think I’ve come a long way, and want to see what I can do to build on that over the next twelve months!

My day job is in statistics, so inevitably, I’m going to look at some stats for this year’s progress. According to my figures, I’ve bought 89 kits this year, though I think stuff like Death Masque has been counted as four distinct Deathwatch kits because some of them I’ve painted, and some of them I haven’t. I’ve managed to build 58 kits, though some of these I’ve had from previous years – only 35 of the newly-bought kits of 2016 have been built. I’ve also completely painted 28 kits, which is a lot more than I had expected, but when you see it in relation to the number of kits I’ve bought, it’s kinda sad. I’ve also part-painted a further 22 kits, which I suppose does help to mitigate circumstances a little!

I think most of my money in 2016 went on Tomb Kings stuff, though that is a little artificial due to the fact that the line was discontinued so I bought as much as I could afford in one hit. The launch of the Deathwatch army in the summer was probably the single most exciting event for me; as much as I love the Genestealer Cults, I think my enthusiasm for the Deathwatch is shown by the fact that I’ve finished quite a few of those models already, while the Cult is only part-built and part-primed.

hobby progress retrospective

The biggest success I’ve had this year has most assuredly been the Alpha Legion, however. While I was convinced I was going to collect an Ultramarines army, the XX Legion has infiltrated its way into my heart and, bolstered by the painting campaign at my local GW store towards the end of the year, I’ve managed to completely paint up more models for this army than any other single faction all year! I think the final count is 48, including the contemptor dreadnought and the rhino. Moving ahead into 2017, I’ve already got a further 12 models waiting for paint – another tactical squad, an apothecary and a drop pod.

Hobby Progress 45

Space Marines remain some of the most numerous models that I’ve continued to paint in 2016, as I’ve done smaller numbers of Ultramarines, Novamarines, White Scars and Deathwing. In the middle of all of this, I’ve also managed to churn out some more Stormcast Eternals, some more Necrons, a couple of Orruks and the start of my Tomb Kings!

hobby progress retrospective

There are still an awful lot of partially painted miniatures hanging around, of course, and I hope that I can get the majority of these finished off in the coming months, as well as those bits and pieces that have been built but are still hanging around! In addition to all of those numbers I’ve been spouting off about earlier, there are still plenty of miniatures that I’ve built in 2015 and are as yet incomplete, including quite a few Necron things! So I do hope I can do things with those, also.

So!

It’s been a fun year, and has been really quite productive, but I think it’s time to look ahead to 2017 now, and set out some objectives for the year.

First of all, let’s talk about Necrons. This was my first army for 40k, of course, and is still the one closest to my heart. In building up my force, I’ve always made a conscious effort to match the look of those early models, which hasn’t always been great because I do think that I’ve progressed as a painter since those days. As such, over the course of this year I’ve tried to up my game with some of them, but I haven’t really decided what I want to do with the older models. Keep them as mementos? Strip them and re-paint them? I think I want to keep at least some of them as they’re a part of my painting career and stuff, but I have a lot of them that I want to just start again with, particularly the Triarch Praetorians. I’ve recently built up ten Praetorians to run a Judicator Battalion, but I think I might strip the five I’d built years ago and re-paint them to throw in there as well. There are a few other models I think I’ll do this with, also, including some of the Lychguard. Anyway, what I’m saying is, I want to make my Necrons look a bit better than they appear currently, as they’re still the force I feel most comfortable with playing right now, but it isn’t that great when you pull out some models that look ‘meh’ at best.

2017 will therefore feature something of a Necron rebirth!

I’m going to continue with my Deathwatch, as discussed earlier, and the Novamarines will also be on my list as the year progresses. I’m also going to continue building up my Alpha Legion, in part because the campaign at my local store is still ongoing! 2017 is the 30th anniversary year for Warhammer 40k, so even though I have no idea how it would happen, I’m still expecting to see some new Space Marine stuff released throughout the year. Given that Space Marines have become such a thing for me, I’m sure I’ll end up investing in any such thing, but I would like to try and keep new ventures to a minimum where I can! The fact I’ve managed to hold back on the Thousand Sons so well has really surprised me!

2017 will hopefully be the year of Chaos Daemons for me, specifically Slaaneshi daemons! I currently have a box of Daemonettes and a Seeker Chariot in the throes of being finished, so I’m looking forward to not only getting them done, but also moving forward with adding other stuff to the army. I’ve been trying to draw up a 2000 point list, but the amount of models needed for that is kinda scaring me! I want to keep it as Slaaneshi as I possibly can, though there will be some Slaves to Darkness involved because I want the Warshrine as a centrepiece! I have some minis already, and have ordered some more, so at some point very soon, expect to see these making an appearance!

hobby progress retrospective

So, at the top of the year, I’m planning to rejuvenate my Necrons; continue with the Deathwatch, Novamarines and Alpha Legion, and to get started building up a Slaanesh Daemons army. Undoubtedly Genestealer Cults and other stuff will also be featuring as I go along, and for the rest of it, well, I guess we’ll see what GW offers!

If you’ve been reading these hobby progress blogs throughout the year, thank you so much for being along for the ride! I hope they’ve been entertaining, and maybe even motivational – they certainly have been for me! I’m still not sure if I’m going to be doing them every single week, as I have been thinking about moving to monthly, but that seems somehow too long to wait. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Happy New Year!

Who knew plastic could be so exciting! #2016bestnine

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2016 in review

Hey everybody!
I can’t believe 2016 is over already! It’s been a rough year for the world, but I’ve had a pretty great year on the blog here, so thought I’d stick with the tradition of looking through the last twelve months on the blog here and pick out my favourite ten – in chronological order! 209 blogs done (including this one), which is pretty impressive, I feel!!

Visionaries

#GWfor52 – the first of my weekly hobby update blogs

Tomb Kings Extravaganza (A Warhammer Story)

Playing Magic: House Dimir

Comics Catch-Up

The Original d6 – the West End Games Star Wars RPG!

Ghostbusters – the birthday week extravaganza!

Marvel Star Wars catch-up!

Ewoks! – a nostalgia trip with my favourite childhood cartoon for my 500th post!

Rogue One

It’s been a great year! Managed to read a lot of great stuff, including a whole lot of great DC comics, and continued my explorations of the Black Library. I’m really pleased and impressed to have posted my weekly hobby progress all the way through the year, as well! Star Wars has taken more of a back seat than I’d have liked, but with episode VIII on the horizon in 2017, that’ll no doubt be stepping up once again!

My one regret is not getting further with my creative writing. In February, I wrote a short introductory piece to what I’d hoped to be another series of short stories in the Star Wars universe, A New Beginning, but didn’t get any further. That’s partly due to time running away with me, but I’ve also lost the handwritten notes on the story that I had! Hopefully they’ll turn up, and I can resume this in the new year.

While 2016 has been great, I can’t wait to see how 2017 goes! Hope to have you all along for the ride!