Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

OK, so it's a few hours early but I very much doubt I'm going to be sober enough to make this post later on!

Christmas has been and gone and so, naturally, I've not picked up a paintbrush for about a fortnight. I did manage to finish the Greek hero for DWP's Advent Challenge, but I've been unable to take pictures of the finished product.

That is, until now! Santa was extremely helpful this year; I am now the proud owner of a brand new digital camera, which means I can snap away to my heart's content. Hopefully I'll have a picture of the Greek ready to display in the next couple of days (depending on how long the hangover lasts...)

Of course, tomorrow is the first day of 2011 and with the new year come new resolutions. I made just two hobby-related resolutions last year; to finish 2000pts worth of Night Goblins and to finish painting my Human and Orc Blood Bowl teams. Needless to say, I didn't succeed with either of these (although my Human team would be finished by now if it weren't for the fact that I added another 6 players which I've only half-completed so far...)

2011 will hopefully be more successful, both in terms of real life and hobby related goals. Here's the hobby targets:

1/ Finish painting my Human and Amazon Blood Bowl Teams
A carry over from last year, with the addition of the Amazons. I've had the Amazons for nearly two years now and other than cleaning them up they've been sat in the box they came in. It's about time I got both of these finished

2/ Add more subs to my Orc Blood Bowl and finish painting them
Sort of tied in to target 1, I want to expand my Orc team as well as finish painting it. My human team has 18 players available, so I'd like to give that added flexibility to my Orc team as well. Eventually I'll do the same for the Amazons as well...

3/ Finish painting all the Skaven figures I currently own (Doomwheel, 8 Rat Ogres, 120 Clanrats, 4 Weapon Teams, 6 characters)
There's been talk of a Skaven-Night Goblin campaign amongst a few of the gamers at the club, with the purchase of several IoB boxsets. Between us we've got tonnes of goblins and rat-things to get going, we just need to finish painting them all. Mine are mostly assembled and sprayed, which is a good start

4/ Make a post on my blog at least once every week
Being as I started this blog with the intent that it act as motivation, this one really goes without saying. If I can keep updating regularly, odds are my painting will become more regular as well (that's the plan anyway...)

5/ Paint a Dystopian Wars starter fleet (likely Prussians)
Dystopian Wars has really caught on at the local club (after the success of our Firestorm demo game last month, everyone has been snatching up the DW stuff). I've not bought the fleet yet, as I'm hanging back a bit to see whether Spartan Games bring any new fleets out any time soon, but I do really like the look of the Prussians

6/ Play with said fleet at least three times 
There's no point having the fleet if I don't play with it; gaming is the other side of the hobby coin, and one I've not really engaged in much during 2010.

7/ Play a minimum of five Warhammer games
As above, gaming was something I didn't do a lot of in 2010. I'm hoping to change that in 2011, especially with A5 on the horizon and talk of our own WFB campaign as well

8/ Play one game system I've never played before

One to broaden the horizons of my gaming repertoire; trying a new system is always good and there should be plenty of scope for it. Malifaux is looking increasingly tempting...

9/ Take part in at least two demo games at wargames shows with Stafford Games
Not entirely sure what the plans are with regards to this as yet, but I know there has been talk of putting on two games at Alumwell wargames show around April time I think (one Firestorm, one Stalingrad FoW).

10/ Paint at least 300 models total over the course of the year 
300 models may sound ambitious - it is. But I'm hoping that I'll have the impetus and motivation to see it through. It sounds like a lot sitting here in front of the laptop, but the Skaven make up nearly half of that total together with the Blood Bowl teams. If I finish those three targets, I'm halfway to completely this one as well.

11/ Finish painting my 15mm French Napoleonics 
This is something I really should have done ages ago. I've got a sizeable force already, but I've still got plenty of infantry and artillery left to paint and I could do with expanding my cavalry as well. They're easy to paint, so I've really got no excuse other than procrastination...

12/ Paint up the 28mm Arthurian Saxons I've had knocking around for ages so I can get some Arthurian gaming in...

This is something we've been itching to get started with, but there's always been something else to distract us. It's about time I made a start on these, with the added benefit that it might also encourage some of the others to get their painted up as well.

13/ Sculpt a model completely from scratch
I got new sculpting tools for Christmas, and I've always wanted to have a go at sculpting a model from scratch. There are plenty of tutorials around on the net that I've read over, so this year I'm going to give it a go.

So there we go. Time to sign off, and I'll see you in 2011!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Greeks, Butterflies and Vampires!

So I got started on a few models today.

The Greeks:

These are from Spartan Games' "Heroes of Myths and Legends" range, which has been 'temporarily discontinued' as far as I'm aware. The only reason I've got them is because I happened to notice them at games night last Thursday, the owner had reduced them to half-price and just couldn't shift them (hence why he had them, even though they're no longer in production). Lacking any Dystopian Wars models to buy (my cousin bought the last rulebook, the git) I picked these up for something different to paint.

The top model is the one I'm planning on painting up for the Advent Challenge on Thursday. They're nice models; the pictures don't show it, but they've got a lot of good details. 40mm is a scale I've not toyed with before, so the Advent challenge will be an experiment in more ways than one.


Great model - as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted it (plus I had a 25% discount on my next Raging Heroes purchase - i.e. this one - due to delays with the release of the Asharah and Eleriel & Alaniel models). Lovely detail, the model fits together beautifully and it's both lithe and delicate whilst imposing and powerful at the same time. The wingspan is pretty impressive as well - this is "only" the Heroic version, and it still stands at 50mm high and about the same wide. It will look great as a Spellweaver in my Asrai army, if I can do a decent job with the painting.


This model, compared to Syl-Iriah, is an absolute pain. It's fiddly, relatively poorly cast and a pain in the ass to put together; literally every part requires pinning because otherwise it would simply fall apart. Not that I wouldn't have pinned it anyway, but compared to this Syl-Iriah was an absolute breeze despite (at first glance) being the more 'complex' model. The poor casting is disappointing; it's still a very impressive looking model but, compared to the master renders that Raging Heroes show on their website, the model has lost so much detail and sharpness. It's most noticeable on the head; the facial features are ill-defined and almost "blurred". Not to mention that the mould lines are some of the worst I've had on a metal model...

I'm fairly sure the 'problems' with Asharah are due to the fact that this was the very first model Raging Heroes cast; it's clear from the differences between the Asharah model and Syl-Iriah that Raging Heroes have come on in leaps and bounds both in the way they design and cast their models. Clearly they have learnt some lessons from Asharah.

One thing that plays in Asharah's favour (and Syl-Iriah's, incidentally) is that she comes with a lot of options; there are three head variants (Vampire, Elf and Chaos-y helmet) and I think six different arms (two swords, whip, spellbook, shield, staff). I've assembled Asharah as a Vampiress complete with sword and shield (which are being kept seperate for painting).

Anyway, that's all for now. One of the Greeks (most likely) will get painted fully on Thursday, if everything goes to plan. As for the others, I'll hopefully get some time to work on them over the course of the next week, although work will unfortunately limit most of my time up until Christmas Eve, and then Christmas will of course be all I can think about!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Not much progress...

Well, it's been a couple of days since the last post. Unfortunately, those few days have been largely unproductive due to work and a few other commitments. Still, I've made a little bit of progress...

I've started assembling the three Raging Heroes models I've got (Syl-Iriah, Asharah and Eleriel & Alaniel) and prepping them for painting to commence some time this week. I've also picked out three 40mm Greek Heroes from the unpainted masses and have them sat on my paintdesk ready to go. I've signed up for Da Warpath's unofficial Advent Challenge (where members volunteer to paint one figure start to finish in one day, every day up until Christmas). My day is Thursday 16th, so I thought I'd paint one of the Greeks. I'm not sure how well it will turn out, but it will be interesting to try and finish a whole figure in just 24 hours! Of course, I could just pick a rank-and-file model to speed paint and get it done in just a few hours, but I'd like to push myself and see if I can get a figure done to a decent standard in the time allowed. Theoretically, a Greek hero should be fairly easy to paint (just a bit of flesh, a bit of bronze and then a few details!) but we'll see how it goes on the day...

In other news, I still haven't finished those Aquan heavy cruisers but they had their first outing last Thursday at games night. Fought an 800pt battle against Sorylians which resulted in a very hard-fought "losing draw". At the time we ended the game, we were more or less even but another turn would have seen the Sorylians edge the victory so I suppose I should be glad we ended when we did! It might not have been a win, but it was a damn sight easier than fighting Dindrenzi!

Anyway, I'll hopefully be back tomorrow with pictures of the models I hope to get started on this week.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Tim Minchin!

Just got back from the NIA in Birmingham, where me and the other half went to see Tim Minchin.


Honestly, if you've not heard of him (or seen any of his stuff) go to YouTube right now and look him up. The guy's a genius, not to mention an extremely talented musician. Great show, and much fun was had by all!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

What to do next?

Well I've got plenty to pick from, that's for sure. I made a list after all, so here it is:

Dragonlords fleet - undercoated (Uncharted Seas)
Skaven army - assembled and mostly undercoated (Warhammer)
Night Goblin army - some models completed, most not even started… (Warhammer)
Tilean/DoW “army” - a couple of characters and lots of pikemen WiP, crossbowmen still to be assembled, the rest still to be bought (Warhammer)
15mm Napoleonic French - plenty of infantry and some artillery to paint (Napoleonics)
28mm Saxons - not even started (WAB; Age of Arthur/Shieldwall). I've also got a box of Gripping Beast Viking Hirdmen that I bought with the intention of using them as fyrdmen...
Pirates - only about a dozen, but I want to do a bit of greenstuff work to make them more PotC-esque! (LotHS)
Bretonnian army - started repainting these about 18 months ago with a crusader theme. One unit of KotR done, the rest still to do (Warhammer)
Wood Elves - I’ve still got a ton of Wood Elf models (both old and new) to paint up and add to my current force, as well as custom Treekin and Treemen half-built. (Warhammer)
Raging Heroes minis - I bought Syl-Iriah, Asharah and Eleriel & Alaniel a while ago and haven’t really touched them yet.
LotR - The Rohan are done, but I’ve still got plenty of Moria Goblins, Elves, Numenorians and Uruk-Hai to finish
Eldar - I still have a battalion box of Eldar hidden under the bed that haven’t been touched for two years or more. I started painted them a couple of Christmases ago (completed a Guardian squad, Wave Serpent and half-painted a War Walker); I still have Dire Avengers, a Farseer, Banshees and a few other bits and bobs untouched. Not sure if I want to finish these or not being as I don’t play 40K any more…
Bloodbowl teams - I’ve got a few Human subs to finish off, a complete Orc team to finish and a completely untouched Amazon team still in the box and waiting to be painted.
Various other single models ~ Models that I bought just because they look cool, but haven’t yet got round to painting. These would make nice distractions mixed in amongst other projects to give me a break from painting the same thing over and over.

On top of all that, I’d like to pick up a Dystopian Wars fleet (hopefully Prussians) and start another Firestorm fleet in the near future. I may have forgotten a few things to go on the list as well (I went from memory, so I'm bound to have missed something).

Since compiling the list above, I've actually started assembling the Raging Heroes models after someone asked about the Syl-Iriah model over on I might do a bit of work on them while I decide which of the "major" projects to tackle next.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Wargamer Show

Wargamer has now been and gone, and our first demo game went swimmingly! Much fun was had by all and the game itself attracted a fantastic amount of interest from people, which we were all very pleased about (and I understand the trading didn't go too badly either!)

We were there bright and early at about 8.45am ready to set up the table (as well as help set up the last bits of the shop). By 9.30 a couple of other guys from the club had turned up and most of the other games and trade stalls were set up ready to roll when the doors opened at 10am.

"The Plan" ™ was to run two games in two time slots; game one (10am til 12.30) would have 5 players (2 v 3) with a Dindrenzi-Directorate alliance (commanded by Paul and Woody) fighting to seize control of the space station, with the Aquans, Terrans and Sorylians (controlled by myself, John and Gary respectively) defending the station (which was itself inoperational). The result of game one would determine the setup of game two (1pm til 3.30pm); if the Dindrenzi-Directorate won, they would be able to bring the station back online and launch an attack into Terran territory and ambush a civilian convoy (the Terrans would be isolated in the centre of the board and would be required to keep the three civilian ships alive). If the Aquans and co. won, they would force the Dindrenzi-Directorate forces back and gain a chance to strike a decisive blow (the Dindrenzi-Directorate would be limited to 75% of the points of the attackers and enact a "last stand").

Of course, "The Plan" ™ went to pot as soon as we put figures on the table....

First, John and Woody hadn't turned up . To stand-in, we had to recruit two members of the club who had never played the game before and were completely unfamiliar with the rules (Marc, in charge of the Directorate, and Josh controlling the Terrans). By 10am were ready to rumble and the first turn was underway, at which point one of the missing players turned up. We explained the situation and he wandered off to browse the trade stalls for a bit, so he could take up the play in game two. Anyway, the game progressed slowly (as was to be expected for the first turn when everything was still out of range). Turn 2 comes along and we finally get some firing, although nothing of note happens. At this point, Josh decides he's had enough and wanders off. Luckily, another member of the club had turned up by now (Andy) and, although he'd never played Firestorm before he had played a couple of games of Uncharted Seas and so had a little bit of knowledge about how the rules worked.

Unlike Josh, Andy picked the game up quickly and by the end of Turn 3 things were hotting up. Gary, controlling the Sorylians, couldn't roll dice for toffee though which left the Aquans and Terrans facing off against more than twice their number of points, ships and guns!

The Terrans make their slow advance with all guns blazing

It was at this point that Complication #2 occurred. John (who was supposed to be controlling the Terrans originally) and Nigel (who had brought his Brethren fleet for the day) decided they'd waited long enough and brought on parts of their fleets. At this point, we adapted "The Plan" ™ and decided to scrap game two and just keep going with game one for the rest of the day.

Another turn came and went, and it was obvious that the original Terrans and Aquans would not last much longer - both fleets were reduced to just two ships, and the Dindrenzi-Directorate had lost almost nothing in return:

Another turn gone, and the majority of the Sorylian fleet finally turned up:

Of course, by this point it was too little too late. The original Terrans and Aquans were destroyed, leaving the Dindrenzi and Directorate still largely intact to face off against a Sorylian-Terran fleet that was roughly the same size as what we started with (i.e. not a lot!).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All in all, despite the 'complications', the game turned out pretty well. We attracted plenty of interest from spectators, many of whom had not seen the game before. We got several people involved in playing a new game (including some members of our own club!) and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

We're already talking about possibly putting on games at other shows for early next year; currently, the plan is to run a Stalingrad FoW game as well as another Firestorm game. That said, Spartan Games have just released Dystopian Wars (a Victorian-era Steampunk-based game encompassing land, aerial and naval combat) which has caught the eye of several club members, myself included. Of course, with Christmas coming very soon it's dangerous to buy myself presents (I've made that mistake before and ended up buying the same thing that someone else got for me!). Not to mention my better half would be a bit cross if she knew I'd been spending money on myself rather than various friends and relatives...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 So, what's next? Well, with Wargamer out of the way I've not got any painting deadlines for the immediate future which basically means I can work on any of the numerous half-finished projects I have waiting in the wings. First though, I do have the two Aquan Heavy Cruisers to finish (they're half-done, but I couldn't get them finished in time for Sunday). After that, who knows? It may pay dividends to actually make a list of what projects I've got, and how far along each of them is. Animosity 5 is coming soon, so it might be high time to get that Tilean army on the move again....

Whatever I decide, I'll be sure to share it so stay tuned! Until next time...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Prepping for Wargamer

So I mentioned a couple of posts ago that Sunday is a big day, and this is why. Sunday is the day of Wargamer, a wargames show held in Birmingham (Great Barr) every year. It's been running since 1996, so is a fairly long-running show (although not one of the biggest). This year is a little bit extra special because, for the first time, our gaming club will be putting on a demonstration game of Firestorm Armada - hence why I've been busily painting up my fleet this week.

Anyway, I'm putting the finishing touches to the ships as I write (well, not as I write because that would mean developing four hands...). Being as it is now just into Sunday morning officially, and thus it's pitch black outside, pictures of the completed fleet will have to wait until daylight returns. Who knows, I might even come up with some in-progress shots of the game while I'm at it...

I'll be back with more details on the proceedings later!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A few more...

 A few more pics of the Aquan fleet. There are more up-to-date pics (with weapon ports painted) but thought I'd share these in the meantime:

Added a few details to the Manta, Battleship and Frigates tonight (before the work's Christmas do...) Also started work on the weapon ports and will (hopefully) complete those tomorrow night. Photos forthcoming, and then I'll talk about Wargamer!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

And then there were none...

Just got back from games night, where we squeezed in another practice game of Firestorm Armada before the big day on Sunday (more about that later).

All in all, I received an absolute drubbing at the hands of the Dindrenzi. I would write up a full report, but there's nothing much to tell. To cut a long story short-ish, it was almost a repeat of the game I had on Tuesday (against the same Dindrenzi I might add).
  • Absolutely brutal first turn fire put paid to my squadron of Heavy Cruisers (one depressurised and blew up, the other managed a single ineffective broadside before suffering a Critical and exploding, causing 3 damage on my Battleship in the process) and took each of my Light Cruisers down to half strength. I managed a few scattered damage points in return.
  • The following turn saw my Light Cruisers destroyed and one Frigate squadron crippled. Turns 3 and 4, I managed to get my Battleship and Manta Battle Carrier in amongst the Dindrenzi and caused heavy damage, before being boarded. My Battleship fought off the boarders but lost all it's crew in the process (thus becoming derelict). I lost the remainder of my Frigates, for one Dindrenzi Heavy Cruiser and one Light Cruiser in return.
  • In the final turn, the Manta moved away from the boarding Heavy Cruisers and let loose with all batteries (it was surrounded, so I had targets in every arc). Of course, it was at this point that the dice abandoned me (as if they hadn't already) and I caused only a single point of damage on another Heavy Cruiser. With a heavy damaged Manta as my only remaining ship, we decided to call it a night. 
After two almost identical games, I can see a pattern emerging. Once my Aquans get in amongst the Dindrenzi ships, they can really dish out some pain. The problem is actually getting in amongst the Dindrenzi with enough ships left intact - weathering the storm of the Dindrenzi fore batteries during the first couple of turns is proving next to impossible; in both games, I've lost my Heavy Cruisers, Light Cruisers and half my Frigates before engaging. That's left my Battleship and Manta with insurmountable odds facing them, and even though they chuck out a very tasty amount of dice, they aren't tough enough to survive the fire of a whole Dindrenzi fleet.

Still, we live and learn. I've got my mitts on two more Heavy Cruisers to bulk that squadron up to four in an attempt to give them a bit of survivability (they've formed the vanguard of my attack so far, and thus have been the prime target for enemy fire - hence why they've not survived much beyond turn 3....). Plus a squadron of four can chuck out a very respectable 20 Attack Dice at Medium Range (or 4x8 firing seperately) which should help thin the enemy a bit before the main bulk of the fleet engages.

Anyway, I've just got details to paint on the rest of the fleet (plus the two new Heavy Cruisers) before Sunday. I'll get cracking on those tomorrow, so will try and post some finished pics then. In the meantime, here's a few shots of how they look at the moment (top to bottom: Storm class Light Cruisers, Tsunami class Heavy Cruisers, Manta Battle Carrier, Poseidon class Battleship, Piranha class Frigates)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Beginning

Time to get the ball rolling then. This is going to be my attempt at motivating myself in an effort to complete some of the long-running projects I've got on the go (hence the Carrot and Stick). There might even be some game reports along the way, and I might even use this blog as an excuse to go off on a rant about various things...

Anyway, enough talk. On with the show!