vrijdag 16 juni 2017

Gleeee!!!

I had a day off today, and it was well that I did, because halfway through the morning, the postie delivered this:
So I finished the gardening I was doing (well, "gardening", more weeds-exterminatus, really), made  myself a cuppa and had a sit down with my new toys. :D

What a beast:
Yes, that's near to 3 kilos of Grimdark Goodness!! (I guess if I put the dice and the objectives on there as well, I'd hit the 3 kilo mark perfectly...)

Speaking of the objectives, GW has really made a leap with plastic-tech in those. We already know about the 2 stage molding of the transparent section, but I discovered another surprise:
Yup, that antenna is hollow, courtesy of a sliding mold section! Previously I've only seen this on Gundam kits and high end scale model kits. Way to go GW, I'm impressed! I hope they'll use this tech more often.
I may see myself getting more of this kit, as the bits are just wonderful for detailing Space Hulk/Necromunda/Shadow Wars terrain.

So, having ogled the sprues (the models in the box are impressive, quite unusual part separation on most of them, giving them marvelous detail. Oddly enough, while my attention has been mainly on the Primaris Marines up until now (as they would need integrating into my Howling Griffons), I'm most excited about the Death Guard minis at this moment. They just look so good, despite being a bit busy, and my reservation about molded in "special effects" like smoke and spell effects. They look like a lot of fun to paint.
If I'd have to describe the new 40K box set in one word, it would be "Luxurious".  This time round they have really thought about presentation and the experience of unboxing it, and it really pays off. Spot on, in my opinion. It really reads and feels as a high end product.

So having ogled the miniatures and components (I really like the dice and the ruler by the way), I put it all back in the box and sat down with the new rulebook. A quick thumb through showed that the background is in the front, with the rules starting at page 170. A good call in my opinion.
So the afternoon I had a bit of a read, had a nap (Hey, it's my day off, don't judge me! Plus, I had been sleeping poorly the past week), read some more. Once my son is in bed, I'll read even more. I think I'll enjoy myself this weekend. :D

Truth be told, I haven't been this excited by a new 40K release in ages. Maybe even since 2nd edition...

See you next time!

zondag 11 juni 2017

Making Max Mad...

Recently, we got a little group together to try out Gaslands, the upcoming vehicle wargame to be released by Osprey. What makes this extra cool is that two of our quartet are people returning to the hobby after several years!

Apparently Gaslands has a strong theme of corporate backing and televised spectacle (sort of Death Race meets Running Man), but I prefer my vehicular mayhem to be distinctly post-apocalyptic in flavour. So down Fury Road I went...

Here's my automotive butchery in progress:
 
As the misses was away for the week, I took advantage of the opportunity to keep my painting gear set out in the living room and spent a little bit each evening daubing pigments on my little cars. These are the results:
Each has a reinforced ramming front. The guns are magnetised, the guns in the middle between the two cares are freely exchangeable between the two. Additionally there is a more advanced missile launcher, as well as an oil slick sprayer and caltrop dropper for the pickup truck.

Last thursday we had a game, each of us with one of their cars. The location visited was the Hasbro-Ginzu Memorial Zen Garden and Racetrack.We quickly got into the flow of the game, and carnage ensued!

At one point we had three a three car pileup, right in the middle of the tightest bit of the entire track!
My driver decided to bypass the choke point entirely, barreling through a bamboo grove, before tearing the right side off his car on the massive stone wall.
Shortly after it was all over. I managed to catch one the other cars in a salvo, just as I came tearing out of the second bamboo grove. It crashed and burned into the sacred stone standing in the bend of the track and exploded into confetti, as it's ammo and molotovs burned off. This flaming shrapnel then destroyed my already damaged car! Of the other two drivers, one was still manoeuvring his way out of the canyon formed by the walls, as the last of us passed the flaming wreckage and limped across the finish line with it's last few hull points intact.

We all had lots of fun, saw some entertaining reversals of fortune and agreed we should play again soon. Next time, we intend to play on a more open table instead of a racetrack, to see if we can get more use out of our manoeuvres and guns.

My thoughts on the game in it's current beta status: It's fun, quick and easy to get in to, but there are some areas that could use some more clarification. But the rules, in essence,  are tight as they are, and I fully expect them to get the necessary polish before release. I'll certainly be buying them!
In fact I'm already scouting out more cars to convert, and thinking about terrain....
But 40K 8th edition is also coming upon us, so I might be balancing two (or more) projects the coming months!

See you next time!


zondag 28 mei 2017

Stirrings of Badab...

Warning: lots of words!

It should come as no surprise that, seeing the recent rumours and previews of Warhammer 40K 8th edition, I have been looking at my Howling Griffons (and in a lesser degree, Genestealer Cult) again.
So this post will come in two parts: My thoughts on the 8th edition and the new models, which is apparently the "in" topic to post about these days, and my plans, thoughts and schemes for progressing my Howling Griffons army.

So, first part, the new edition and starter set:
As far as the rules go, what GW has previewed so far has me cautiously optimistic about the coming edition. It seems they are, at least for the moment, intent on delivering a fun and efficient game, that is still quintessentially 40K. I like some of the changes, I think, but I'm postponing judgement until I get my hands on the complete rules. Will I get them? Seeing how I own the core rules of every single edition so far, yeah, I'm not kidding myself, I'll probably get them That being said, I wil really, really miss the good old templates... These have been part of 40K since it's very birth and it is sad to see them go.

Now we come to the new starter set: I'm liking the amount of content in this one, and the fact that it contains a full blown rulebook instead of just the mini one. The minis content seems fine, especially taking into account that both the Plague Marines and the Primaris Marines are all distinctly on the large side. I do think it's a shame there isn't even a token effort at terrain in the box, but hey, there hasn't been for the past several editions, so I'm not really surprised by it.

Speaking of minis, there is of course the Deathguard in the box. While exciting for Chaos (especially Nurgle) players, from a design standpoint I find them unremarkable, neither exceptionally good or bad. While there is some nice design there, it get's washed out by the amount of detail and business on the models. This is a common problem with more recent Chaos releases. It's just all too overwrought. To me, 40K is, and always has been a Gothic, at times Baroque Space Opera in style and story. The Deathguard mini's have clearly strayed well into Rococo territory, with detail and business for the sake of detail and business... They don't have clear, readable lines. Which is a shame.

And to me that is the theme for the designs in this entire box: Deviation from the traditional style of 40K. Where the Death Guard deviate towards the Rococo over-embellishment that is epidemic in recent GW sculpts and designs, the Primaris Space Marines (Or UberMarines for short) deviate in the opposite direction, they're a bit to clean, too high tech for the setting, they're too much "modern sci-fi" in them for my tastes. While I mostly like the design of the Intercessor and Hellblaster squads (Seriously, what kind of name is that?! Hellblaster? It sounds like a chaos squad and doesnt match the naming convention of the other squads... Incandescor squad would have gotten a similar message across and not sound like a teenage garage metal band.), I'm not fond of the Inceptor squad and Gravis Armoured captain.  Both have an inexplicable hood or cowl that in my eyes is superfluous and breaks the profile of the figures. They look like total bullet traps to me. The Gravis just looks heavyset instead of tough and heavily armoured (to many Primaris Grox Steaks perhaps?). The worst offenders in my eyes are the Interceptor squads, for supposedly a fast and dynamic squad they just look so lumpen and static... While I get the idea behind the twin Assault Bolters, I think a Space Marine assault troopers must have a melee weapon. It's just tradition. The cleats on the legs bother me as well, stylistically and from a background perspective: If regular assault marines can jump from orbit and land just on their power armoured feet, why do these extra-tough, extra-enhanced Ubermarines need bumpers to protect their tender little feetses? The jumppack just looks too high tech, especially those fins on the back. I love the Primaris Lieutenants though, the models are nice and characterfull, and I fervently hope this rank wil return to the regular Space Marines as well.

Speaking of regular Space Marines: then there is the background... While I applaud GW for advancing the timeline without blowing the entire galaxy up (just most of it) and starting a completely new setting, there are some niggles for me. First are, obviously the Ubermarines. A central point of the setting has always been that Space Marines are mankind's ultimate warriors, the very best, and even they are in slow decline (Gothic Space Opera, remember?). And suddenly, here are even more ultimate warriors, even very bester than the Space Marines. They have been ordered into creation by a Primarch. And just like the Primarch, they return just as they are needed the most (Okay, that bit is pretty Space Opera...). But it seems that Mary Sue is spelled "Roboute Guilliman" in the far future, he arrives just where he is needed the most, just when he is needed the most and by sheer coincidence does just what he is supposed to do at any given time. It reads like a Matt Ward story or a similarly poor fan-fic. But okay, I can live with that.
What really troubles me is how easily and readily these new Ubermarines, a product of the most dire techno-heresy named  "Innovation" are accepted by everyone. Seeing the 40K setting just the rumour of their existence could/would/should have triggered civil war and schisms. But everyone just goes  "Uuh, Okay. I'll have some of those." about them. Even the most wayward and secretive chapters like Space Wolves and Dark Angels seem to accept this new Brood of Guilliman without even a blink of an eye. This should have been written/presented better. But, I'm trying to withhold judgement until I can get and read the new core book and it's background for myself.

If anything, this edition does well as showcasing what a grumpy old goat I've become. ;P

Anyway, back to my Howling Griffons and seeing how they will fit into/react to this new edition:
Lately I've been rethinking my approach to the hobby. Where before I was constantly challenging myself, pushing for perfection I simply cannot maintain that approach. Hobby time and drive have become more and more intermittent, and I don't see that changing soon. Unfortunately due to the frequent hiatuses and lack of practice, my skill level has dropped a bit. I simply cannot hold myself to the standards I held before. That way frustration and burn-out lies. Plus I want the hobby to be relaxing again. And now and then, actually get something finished, I kind of miss the rush of a project completed.

So, the Griffons will be my test case for this. I'm going to try and find a way to  paint and model them more quickly and easily (Quite the challenge with a quartered scheme...). No long filosophical bouts about what my vision of Space Marines are, and my interpretation of the Griffons chapter without touching a brush or files. I don't need to know exactly what I want my Griffons to be, I can work that out as I make them... No need to do things the difficult way, just for the sake of doing things the difficult way. Time to start just doing again. So yesterday I've been prepping shoulderpads, sculpting Howling Griffons iconography to mold and reproduce them more easily.  Only to find out my GS skills have deteriorated. Oh, well, 50% of the attempts were succesfull, those will be reproduced.
I've also been looking at 3D printed pads, something I would have refused to do before.
Next step will be making molds and building a pile of shoulderpads ready to go. And finding what is the minimum amount of painting I can do on my marines and still be satisfied enough with them.
To aid in this endeavour, I'm also thinking of hosting/organizing semi-regular hobby days, as painting together just works better, and I have some mates who are re-entering the hobby and are looking for pointers and tips. After all wargaming is a social hobby and I've been a hobby-hermit for quite some time now.

And while I was pushing polymers around into weird griffon-shaped lumps, I was pondering what 8th ed. and the new Ubermarines would mean for my Howling Griffons. My conclusion, for now, is that the rules look interesting and may get me into gaming again, but I'll have to see the complete product before I'm sure. The setting, eh, I'm not sure yet, while I admire the daring to advance the story line and change the status quo, I fear Rowboat Girlyman and his Ultramarines may become too much of a Mary Sue faction.  I checked and Mancora isn't swallowed by the Warp, so no problems there. Either way, since I'm focussing my Griffons for the Badab War era of their existence, I can choose not to adopt the current storyline. That's the advantage of having 10.000 years of "history" to play in. :D
As I said earlier, I'll probably cave and get the new starter set, so they will find their way into my army, perhaps. I have been playing with the idea of painting them as Mentor Legion instead, as, according to the background, they're the Imperium's "test pilots" for any new tech and procedures and I could see them detached to my Griffons to sort of "midwife" the introduction of Primaris Astartes.

So for now, the plan is to just ride the bow-wave of enthusiasm, try to get stuff done with the minimal amount of effort that still satisfies and see what happens.

See you next time!

zondag 7 mei 2017

Stealin' Genes

The samurai project has been flagging a bit the last few weeks. Mojo has been low in general for hobby stuff.
But this week, I decided to give Space Hulk Deathwing another run, 40K had been bubbling in the brain a bit again, due to the recent exposure Shadow War Armageddon and the upcoming new edition 40K were getting online.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that a large part of the technical issues of the game were solved, and that there was more variety in gameplay to be found. Sadly, the servers are still rather depleted after the rocky start, hopefully this will improve once the Enhanced Edition becomes reality.

Anyway, one thing led to another, and I decided to build a couple of Genestealers, as a palate cleanser and hopefully something that would kickstart the Mojo-generator again.
Originally I wanted all my genestealers for the Space Hulk project to be just generic genestealers. But today I realised I rather like the variety of 'stealers in the Deathwing game. Plus it would be more interesting to paint and model than just 20+ identical creepy aliens... I could always make some house rules for them in SH, Kill Team or =I=Munda if I were so inclined, or I could use them as regular 'stealers and just keep the variation a cosmetic thing.

Here they are: two Stalker Strain Genestealers and two Scythe Strain Genestealers:

The parts in the rear of the picture are a start at an attempt to convert some Tyranid Warriors into a pair of Broodlords or similar heavy, large Genestealer variants.
Now, to figure out how to speed-paint Genestealers and still have them look decent.

See you next time.

zondag 23 april 2017

Just in time for Hanami!

This has been a productive weekend! Also, this post requires a song:


The cherry trees have been finished (I just need to let them dry for a couple of days, and then fixate the flocking). While the flock was out, I also finished up the bamboo bases and the sacred rock.
Here's a FIP (Flock in Progress) picture:

Bright, aren't they? :D

During Hanami, Tamiya-san and Ronin Hasegawa re-enact the impromptu duel that led to their years-long friendship, as Katsunaka the priest and Kageyori the Miko look on from a safe distance.
And a slightly more top-down shot:
That's all of my currently finished Japan-specific scenery, as well as some of my "universal" rocky hills being almost completely obscured by the bamboo groves. I think they might be decent line of sight blockers... ;P

See you next time!

maandag 17 april 2017

Holy Stone

I had a spare hour, in which to knock out a quick scenery paint job. Here's the results:


The rock is, surprisingly, made from rock... The Shimenawa is sisal, hardened with thinned PVA, the Shide are foil from a tube of foodstuff (mayo or ketchup or somesuch).
Painted up quick, looks the part.
All in all, Easter has been productive.

See you next time!

zondag 16 april 2017

Oriental flora

Well, the bamboo got finished yesterday, but the light was gone already gone so far, I couldn't get decent pictures anymore. So these had to wait until today:
Daimyo Tempura finds his entry into Miso-Ji isn't quite as uncontested as he expected...

Today, as an added bonus, my wife joined me for painting, the first time in years (She used to be a very skilled and enthusiastic painter, but that hobby had fallen somewhat by the wayside for her.) It was really nice to be sat next to her and sharing a favorite activity. I got some progress done on the first batch of my Samurai villagers, but didn't quite get them finished

Also, earlier this week the tiny cherry trees I ordered online finally arrived:
A bit brighter than I had anticipated, but they'll server their purpose just fine! They're about 40mm tall, which works just fine for my purposes. I'll just put these on as inconspicuous bases as possible, so I can plant them wherever I like them to be on the table. Half of this batch will go to Gunbird.

I don't think I'll get these done before Hanami is over, but then again, with these, my samurai can go cherry blossom viewing whenever they want... ;D

See you next time!