Friday, 26 May 2017

Operation Homehammer continues

My run of hobby productivity continues and I've been cracking on with my project to create my home gaming setup. As I mentioned yesterday, I found some really good bits in my local Poundland to use as a basis for some terrain:

They're really cheap and rubbish, as you might expect considering the source, but they're pretty much the perfect scale for 40k terrain and don't look so crap that a dab of superglue in the moving parts and a quick spray of silver can't make them look passable as civilian vehicles.

They'll be getting a liberal wash of Nuln Oil and a good rusting up at some point, but for now I think they're surprisingly passable. Not bad at all for ten minutes work!

My nexy step will be digging around in my box of old half-finished terrain pieces to see what I can salvage. Should be interesting.

Building Inquisitional Warbands

I seem to be really getting my hobby groove on this week. Clearly this 365 Challenge idea is massively helping my motivation levels. Just trying to do something small that's hobby-related every day is really handy for keeping me focussed.

For my terrain project which I talked about last post, don't worry I haven't gotten distracted from it already! I had a day off yesterday, so I a poke around the local charity shops and Poundland and found some really interesting bits I can use. I'll post up what I'm cobbling together for that soon. Today though I wanted to show you the collection of Inquisitorial Henchmen which I've been pulling together:

I've got a slight confession to make. I cheated on my painting points total a little bit. Despite not having completed many models recently, I did a GW order for these. My thinking this that I find it easier to complete whole units in one go, so I needed to fill out my half-finished warbands before I could painted them. That's my excuse anyway and I'm sticking to it!

Anyway, moving on to what I've made. I've found the Tempests Scions kit really great for making basic mooks they have the right look and they're so easy to convert. I've build my Storm Bolter and Special Weapon guys for my Warlord's unit from these, as well as converting the Commissar to lead my actual Scions detachment.

The Storm Bolters came from the SW upgrade kit. I've got so many of these lying around from my SW's project a few years ago, it seemed a shame not to make use of them in some way. These guys are really just there to provide warm bodies/bullet catchers for my heavy weapons warband, but that wasn't going to stop me from kitbashing something cool to represent them.

The Commissar is just the plastic Scions Commissar with some arm swaps from the main Scions kit. I really love this model. The conversion potential is massive. I'm already tempted to get another one to act as a basis for my next Inquisitor conversion. I need to actually finish what I have first though.

Next up are my 'Jokaero'...

...Well, one Jokaero and one Squat.

I've always loved the idea of Squats and have always wanted to have a force of them. Unfortunately the best way to field them is using the 30k Militia list, which would involve converting far more models than I'm willing to undertake as a project atm and that's just to get the basic troops choices!

In the meantime I'm willing to settle for an outcast survivor of the race serving in my Inquisitor's retinue. I figure a technologically-minded Space Dwarf could fill the role of a Jokaero Weaponsith quite comfortably. I just need to add more mechadenrites and weapons to the Dwarf Engineer model I've taken as a base model.

Then there's my Priest and a Mystic:

These are just the basic models. They're such classic sculpts that I didn't really want to do anything with them. The only thing I've done is chop the end of the weird book-staff thing the Priest was carrying and turn it into a walking stick, giving the whole model a more low-key feel. I'm not sure what I'm going to arm the Priest with yet. I might wait to see what's best under 8th edition rules.

These next models however are far more eclectic:

I figure an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, especialy one of a more radical nature such as Inquisitor von Nearostaffen is going to keep a few Xenos mercenaries around for when he needs them.

I'm not even sure what the Sslythe is going to be used as, I just really like the model and the backstory to the race in general. I did a minor conversion to replace his Dark Eldar blade with a Chainsword to give the suggestion that he's been working for Imperial forces for a while and left it at that. I'm thinking of maybe using him as a particularly unusual Arco-Flagellent, but I'm not sure yet. I'm sure I think of something.

The Tau defector is a model I'm particularly liking, mostly for the subtle conversion I've done, replacing his Fire Warrior chestplate with a Cadian torso. He's going to be used as a Mystic, represented by the weird device he's holding, which could feasibly be a homing beacon of some kind. Also note that he's carrying no weapons. It's almost like the Inquisitor doesn't entirely trust him...

And finally we have my Crusaders:

Another simple kitbash, using the shields from the Deathwatch box. The moment I saw these, the idea to use them as shield for my Crusaders just clicked and I think they work brilliantly. The only awkward bit was finding and attaching their axe heads, which came from the Dwarf Warriors box, but I think they've come together quite nicely.

So there you have it. I've gotten myself a nice selection of misfits and outcasts to bolster my Ordo Xenos. I should be getting these sprayed up in the next couple of days, then I can crack on with painting them.

 I've got plenty to keep me going for a while I think, although I should be able to start churning out finished models at a decent pace now I have everything I need (barring a few Ebay purchases I'm waiting for, but more on those later).

I'll post more soon!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Operation Homehammer

Something I've always said I'd do when I had my own place is to set up a decent gaming board for myself at home.

I made an attempt at this last year and bought myself a really nice gaming mat from Deep Cut Studios, then started gathering the materials to scratch build some terrain to go with it. 

Unfortunately starting a new job last year meant the project got shelved due to lack of free time. What little hobby time I could snatch went on painting models rather than terrain building. Any games I've played at home since then have been played using books, paint pots and whatever else could be improvised on the fly for terrain.

With 8th edition 40k on the near horizon though, several friends of mine have showed interest in getting back into 40k, giving me a damn good reason to revisit the idea of sorting out a good board to play on. With this in mind, I've decided to try and build myself a decent terrain set.

First on the agenda is a good sized table. So far I've made do with hodgepodging together several smaller tables to lay the boards down for the mat to go on. Ideally I want to find a 6x4 folding table to work from. With a bit of luck I can find one in a local charity shop, but I might end up buying a new one for simplicity's sake.

What I can do in the meantime though is get my old-school hobby hat on and scratch build myself some terrain. Luckily I have a massive tub of bits and pieces to work from, so I quickly knocked this together yesterday to start me off:

Nice and simple, built from an old coaster and some Paracetamol tubs. A little sand and dry brushing later and I'd gotten myself a passable set of barrels. A quick wash and a little freehand/transfers for markings and it should do the trick quite nicely.

When it's this easy to knock out some terrain, I can't help but wonder why I haven't gotten around to doing this sooner!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Times they are changing... My thoughts on 8th Edition

It's time for me to address the biggest elephant in our gaming rooms right now: 8th Edition 40k.

We all know it's coming. GW has been teasing us and drip feeding us snippets for weeks now. We even got a release date of 17th of June confirmed this week. I've been wanting to hold off on giving my opinion on it until we got some more information, mostly because this is going to be the single biggest shake up of how the game works since the transition from 2nd to 3rd edition. It's certainly no exaggeration to say that this is going to be massive and is going to change everything.

Now that we've got to this stage however, it's time to give you my thoughts.

In short, I'm excited. Really excited.

This surprised me more than anything else. Like most gamers, I don't like change. I'm such a fanatical 40k player I could probably play a game in my sleep. Such a drastic change in how the game I've been playing since age 13 operates should piss me off, but instead I'm finding that really looking forward to it.

It's easy to figure out why though. It really goes without saying that the game as it stands at the moment is a bloated mess. Although I feel the 'base' rules for 7th are pretty solid, there are way too many factions, sub-factions, formations, super-detachments and all the rest, each with their own special rules and interactions to reasonably keep track of, much less keep balanced. Right now someone could turn up to a game with a completely made up formation and probably get away with it, simply because of the sheer amount of rules there are spread across way too many sources.

7th ed has been an era of Deathstars and rules abuse, even amongst a lot of so-called 'casual' players. Armies really don't look anything like how they should in the background. We've all seen seen the Tau/Eldar abombinations being played, as well as those players who bring nothing but formations from half a dozen different factions, built with nothing but maximum rules abuse in mind. A lot of the time it's not even clear what rules to use. A good example is my Inquisition forces. GW has turned around and actually said to choose whether to use the Inquisition Codex or the updated rules in the Imperial Agents book. I actaully played a game the other day where we were both using a different Inquisitional list, both of which are fully legal!

All this has had the effect that over time, the game has become less and less fun to play and more of a negotiation between two plays not to be a dick towards each other for a few hours, with mixed results. Arranging a game would often come with a far too many caveats to agree between players: Casual or Hard lists? Are we bringing Lords of War? How many formations are we limiting ourselves to? How many factions? The list goes on. It's enough to try anyone's patience and sense of joy they feel when playingthe game. It's one of the biggest factors in my jump over to playing 30k, where those issues are far less prevalent.

Yes 8th Edition has its critics. There are players who are accusing GW of dumbing down or 'Sigmar-izing' the game, but the way I see it this new direction can only be a good thing for the game. The game is getting a serious tightening up of the rules, streamlining how it plays so we can focus on playing instead of having to grapple with the clunkiness of the rules every time we want to play a game with our toy soldiers. I can understand why people are nervous, but having spoken to people who play AoS on a regular basis, I can safely say the game is not getting dumbed down. Yes the basic AoS rules are simple, but the complexity comes from the rules which appear in the various Warscrolls and unit entries which are out there.

A tighter ruleset also means less 'wiggle room' for WAAC players to operate in, especially with the introduction of keywords to stop units and characters gaining special rules which they really have no right in gaining, like the 2+ re-rollable invunerable save, which can only be a good thing in my opinion. Yes I'll miss some of the complexities of 7th, but the trade off we get in exchange for that should more than make up for it.

That's not to say I agree completely with everything that's happening. The loss of mechanics for falling back is something I disagree with and I realy don't care much for the new Primaris Space  Marines. On the other hand, each new edition has brought something I haven't liked. It's part of the game. I still rememeber not liking the introduction of the run move in 5th and I still disagree with the entire concept of challenges in the 40k universe which 6th brought. The trick is to just roll with it and not let it affect my enjoyment of the game. The new direction 40k is heading in is a very positive one in general. I've just got to sit back and see where it takes us.

So there you have it. Those are my (slightly rambling) thoughts on the new edition. There's big changes afoot, but I'm personally looking forward to it. It's given me a huge shot in the arm to make the jump back to the main game from 30k and start paint up some armies. It's also drawn back in several local players who left 40k altogether a few editions ago, which can only be a good thing. Me and a couple of these friends are planning to meet up on release day and put the ruleset through its paces, so I'll probably do another post with my thoughts once I've rolled some dice 'in anger' and gotten some practical experience of the new ruleset.

For now though, embrace the change. To those hating on it, this might actually turn out to be a good thing...

Happy Gaming!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Back again and trying to be more productive...

It seems to be theme on this blog to start my posts with 'sorry I haven't posted for a while'. It looks like this grand tradition continues, as real life has gotten in the way of me having time to post anything recently.

Between work and the fact that the Pokemon VGC season is in full swing, I've barely had the time to hobby, let alone blog about it. With 8th Edition drawing nearer though, I'm wanting to get back into the swing of things and get an army ready to go for it. I'll post my full thoughts on the new edition at soome point soon, but for now I want to talk about how I'm going to get myself ready for it, as I'm pretty excited for most of what's on the way.

I'm aiming to get my Ordo Xenos force actually completed, or at least enough to be playable in time for 8th's launch. I technically have what I need to play the force already, but ideally I want it painted, as it's been sitting half finished for a couple of years now. This means ramping up my rate of painting considerably.

I know I've said this before, but I've come across an interesting concept which I want to try. You see, I listen to a lot of hobby podcasts whilst I'm at work. A lot of my work is pretty boring, repetitive and doesn't involve much human interaction, so podcasts help pass the time. One of the regular ones I listen to is The Imperial Truth (which is excellent btw, definitely check it out). One of the hosts, Greg Dann, is trying something called the '365 Challenge'. Basically, the challenge is to paint, build or generally make hobby progress for 365 hours in a single year. Whilst ideally this is an hour a night, it's quite flexible, so if you miss, for example 3 days, you just catch up by doing three hours in one go.

This idea intrigues me, especially as I'm one of those people who tends to make hobby progress in fits and starts, but can happily sit and paint all day once I've gotten going. So I've decided to give it a try, starting this week.

I'm six days into it atm and I've done 5 hours hobbying so far, so I'm off to a good start. Four of those were applying base colours to a Deathwatch Kill Team when I've gottenin from work in the mornings, the other was starting the write-up on the background for one of the members of the team. I consider the background to my projects to be just as important as the models themselves, so I'm counting it as challenge time. It also has the added benefit of allowing me to take a break from the painting side of things if I want to.

Here's how my progress is looking atm:

Not the best of pics I know, but I'm shattered from work right now. I'll get better ones after the next stage, which is washing and highlighting.

Of course a side benefit of this challenge is that I'll hopefulyl be posting here more often. I'm wisely not including blogging into the 365 total, as I'll have the temptation to simple post stuff on here instead of actually making progress on stuff.

Anyway hopefully this will work. I'll let you know how I get on!