Instead of rushing through the posts I'd planned to make, they'll show up as the first few posts of 2015 (which will give me time to actually write them!)
It's been a funny old year for me, and one that has seen life take quite a few twists and turns, especially in the last six months - some bad but mostly very positive, which is nice. 2014 started out well and only got better over the first few months - I got a new airbrush and compressor in February, I started ploughing through my unpainted Wood Elf figures in March/April with the Tale of Duelling Gamers hobby project, I got a new (and long-awaited) Wood Elf army book in May and I got plenty of shiny new Wood Elf models to go with it.
June was when things started to go downhill on the hobby front - the World Cup was a real spectacle, but distracted me from painting up the then-new Wildwood Rangers figures I'd bought. A bit of a disaster with spray undercoat meant the Wildwood Rangers have not been seen on the blog or the painting table since, and it was then that real life stuck its oar in to halt my painting progress (and participation in the Tale of Duelling Gamers). July went by in a bit of a blur until August arrived and we went on holiday for just under three weeks. During said holiday, my girlfriend and I got engaged, and wedding plans started immediately (although I have been a mostly innocent bystander in that regard - I just nod when needed and open the wallet when asked...). I got a promotion at work in September, and work has pretty much taken over for the past three months as the so-called "golden quarter" leading up to Christmas kicked in. What spare time I've had for the hobby has been spent on the biggest of my intended projects for the year - building our 'Malta' gaming boards.
So overall, a pretty good year to be honest, even though the blog has suffered somewhat. Things will quiet down again in January though, and I've got plenty of hobby projects to be getting on with. The primary aim for next year is to play regular games - we keep coming up with ideas, and buying figures, and building terrain, and then we always end up playing less and less games each year. I think in the whole of 2014 I've played a grand total of maybe four games, and two of those were demo games at shows (WMMS in March and Wargamer at the end of November). In fact, prior to Wargamer I haven't played a game since April!
Of course, if we're aiming to play more games it's always nice to play with painted figures, so the two should work hand in hand - the more games I play the more incentive I'll have to paint, and the more I paint the more games I can play (well, in theory at least!) On that note, there's already been talk of a SAGA campaign in the New Year which has got us all frantically building Viking warbands.
The single most motivating factor recently though, for me at least, has been the release of The End Times from GW. Warhammer Fantasy has always been my favourite game, as much for the background as for the game itself (possibly more so, in fact) and the End Times books are the single biggest fluff "supplement" for the Warhammer World since...well, I don't know. I won't spoil anything for those who haven't read any of the books so far, but the series is a huge advancement of the Warhammer timeline and a massive step for Games Workshop itself - never before has the Warhammer World experienced such dramatic change. There are people who have declared themselves "GW Fanboys for Life" in admiration of everything, claiming the End Times is the single best thing GW have ever produced, and there are people who have rage-quit over GW "destroying the hobby". I'm in neither of those camps, although I daresay I'm closer to the fanboys than the rage-quitters - I don't always like what GW write, make or do but I still stick around, collect the figures and have an interest in their game worlds and background. Anyway, I digress...
It's too early for me to declare a final verdict on the End Times as a whole (I'm only two parts through - the third book, Khaine, is waiting in Santa's sack for me to open tomorrow morning...) but what I can say is that it most definitely is dramatic. There is a lot going on. Truth be told, the overriding emotion I have from reading the first two books is shock. There is a lot that hasn't truly sunk in yet, simply because of how shocking everything is. Major characters are dead, nations have been destroyed, the whole world is aflame and chaos is everywhere (quite literally, in some cases). There have been points where I've simply had to put the books down and stop reading to absorb what I've just read. Despite the fact that a world that has stayed largely stationary for at least the 15 years I've been playing Warhammer is suddenly being turned on its head and torn apart in the most violent fashion, it has got me really exciting about Warhammer again - I don't think I've felt this excited about GW's new releases since the last Wood Elf book was released back in 2005. Even though I am scared and worried that GW *are* destroying a world/background I love, I'm also really excited to see how it all ends (and what's left of the Warhammer world when it does).
So far, I've only spared cash for the three books that have been released so far - Nagash was incredible, but I don't play Undead; the Glottkin didn't really interest me (Nurgle's always been my least favourite Chaos god) but I had to get the book to continue the story; Khaine *does* interest me but didn't have any figure releases to accompany it - but the next book could see some significant expenditure. It's been rumoured for a long time that the fourth End Times book would feature the nefarious schemes of the Skaven and today it's been confirmed, with early sightings of next week's White Dwarf proclaiming new Skaven releases - including a plastic Verminlord that rivals Nagash himself for size!
Supposedly, this new kit makes five different variants of Verminlord - a real treat for Skaven players. Naturally, I need one. Let's just hope Santa brings me this week's winning lottery ticket. And on that note...
See you in 2015!