Thursday, 22 September 2016

Undercoating conundrum

I have a problem. Well actually I have many problems but this one involves undercoating models. I have a 2 year old son who loves to be involved in things we do. While this is handy for tidying its not so handy when its things that they cant help with or its dangerous for them to help with.

So I've made up a number of Ork and Space Marines and they're now ready to undercoat... except I can't. Its not due to lack of resources or time but more opportunity. I can't do it while my son is around due to him wanting to help. We live in a tiny rented house so I have to nip outside to use any spray (can or airbrush) and I can't without my son wanting to come outside too. If we had a back garden this wouldn't be a problem but we don't and the chances are he'd run off into the road.

So my models wait for the rare opportunity when he goes out with my wife AND its not raining/humid AND I don't have work to do.... and that hasn't happened yet.

Its no ones fault. Just circumstances.
While I could keep making things I don't want to end up in the "Ive made 2000pts of models and now its all too much to paint so I won't bother" motif.

<steps off soapbox and quietly starts clipping more models off sprues>

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

GW continues to do good

Yeah. I've been really intermittent of late. Its not that I've stopped hobbying but just never found time to blog about it. Doing a masters dissertation probably accounts for a lot of that.

Anyway GW continues to climb in my good books. Firstly the re-launch of White Dwarf. Finally ditching the frankly weakly issue (see what I did there?) and returning to not only a monthly format but a content crammed format too. Chock full of news, battle reports, painting guides and even articles for the currently available "specialist" games such as Deathwatch and Warhammer Quest. There's even a free mini on the cover (which is AoS chaos and therefore of no interest to me but the thought is nice).

I'd say this format surpasses the White Dwarves of the distant past, where the thinly disguised heavy marketing meant that any new release would always win the battle report and be the centre of 90% of the content. I sincerely hope it continues in this way.

In other news the Eldar have gone. I couldn't hack the idea of meticulous painting that they deserved so sold the lot and picked up a mix of orks and space marines instead. I'd forgotten how much fun customising ork models is and the marines enable me to have a second force on standby and scratch my fluff itch. I've been driving my wife spare with trying to work out which chapter they should be tho.

I also did some airbrushing. It was a lot easier than I thought although cleaning it is a bit of a pain as is getting it all outside at our current tiny abode.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

WHQ Silver Tower : sitting on the fence

GW recently announced the release date for Warhammer Quest : Silver Tower. For those not in the know, this is a "re-release" of a game they made back in the late 90s. The older game was fantastic and its one of my genuine regrets that I sold mine (twice - youd think I'd learn).

The premise was simple. You take on the role of an adventurer and dive into dungeons, slaying monsters and grabbing phat loots. What made the game for me was the bits in between the dungeon dives. A thick Adventure book detailed character progression rules and things they coukd do while resting in town. This meant that your character had presence and you genuinely tried yoyr best not to get them killed. The fact the game could be played solo if you wanted meant that no one had to play being the bad guy and you could band up as friends became available.

Copies of that older game trade for £150-300 on ebay and I can't justify dropping that on a game no matter how good.

Fast forward to today and this new game. At this stage there appears to be some significant differences. Firstly its set in the Age of Sigmar universe rather than the old Warhammer world. I can't really comment on whether that's  a bad thing due to not really understanding the new background. AoS and End Times largely passed me by and I've found it difficult to find a summary of the lore changes other than angry rants by not very happy people.
As far as I can tell, the old world is gone (which is a huge shame as I loved the old Warhammer world) and has been replaced by Realms. This seems to be a bit unoriginal given its a staple of Magic:The Gathering and D&D:Forgotten Realms but that just my opinion. As to what this means for the new WHQ, I don’t know as I have no idea how the Realms interact with each other.

The second change appears to be a switch to 2-4 players required. This suggests that someone has to play the bad guy and this is a bit of a flaw. As I mentioned earlier the automatic bad guys meant danger wasn't just the whim of one of your mates  (be that good or bad) but a ststem that didn't care if you got squished. It also meant 2 players could band together for adventures. The details aren't out yet so I'm hoping this is a misunderstanding.

Finally the setting. The original WHQ was set in the old world and adventures ramped up in difficulty from bats and rats to gobbos to orcs and beyond. This time they've set it off against Chaos right off the mark. This then means that your heroes will have to be badass from turn 1 or at least progress very rapidly.

Its no secret that I'm not a fan of Chaos. I find Chaos players are generally odd people and the models and fluff are quite boring. Also we seem to be driving in the Andy "EVERYTHING MUST BE CHAOS" Chambers car for this ride  and I really don't subscribe to that.

So why am I on the fence? I REALLY want to like it. I've been dreaming of a re-release for years and now we finally have one. Indications are that GW intend to support this game with other releases which will only add to its appeal.

But..... Chaos.... and the lack of details about the rpg element make me cautious. I guess we will see.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Airbrush Anxiety

Ok. Yes I really need to drop my alliterative titles ;)

So I managed to nab my dads airbrush setup when we were down for Easter. Since then I've been following this incredibly handy guide and acquired the cleaning bits needed as well as the "right" paints, and now all I need to do is do it..... except I haven't yet.

Now this is due to a number of smaller reasons (weather (as theres no indoor space to do this) time etc) but the bigger reason is that I'm scared to do it. This is mostly from a fear of making a balls up of it and wrecking the models which feeds into an anxiety issue I suffer from anyway. Net result is that my pile of "to paint" models is growing and I try not to let it get too big or it feels too much like a chore.

Part of the reason to write this entry is to chivvy myself into action. We will see. Maybe this weekend. .. ;)

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Markup Morality?

Now I'll say at the start I didn't buy the recent limited edition Imperial Space Marine. It was a nice model and I considered it but in the end gave it a miss as I felt it was a tad too much money for its practical effect.

Others bought it by the bucketful and it was soon sold out in the UK (by lunchtime I think).
It was inevitable that these highly sought after models would find their way onto the second hand market fairly quickly. What did take me by surprise was the reactions to it. At first I was indignant at the £100 price tags that were attached to eBay sales but I then reasoned that no one was forcing me to buy it and so I made my peace.
The Facebook sales groups were another story. I don't think I've seen such vitriol poured out over a sale thread before. I've had an epic sales thread butchered by complaints before but not to the point of people being insulting or wildly aggressive but several threads have gone that way in the last few days.

Why? It seems to stem from peoples belief that others would be duped into overpaying and they're being "the good guy". Alternatively it could be people angry that it's too much for them or that they hadn't made that kind of profit themselves. The more recent reason I heard was that it was "morally wrong" to sell for such a high price. This seemed an interesting concept and I assume its based on the presumption that multiple copies were bought for the express reason of markup. 

The question remains, is it actually morally wrong? The morality of the issue only comes into play if others have lost out to such sales. In the days before 't'internet' you would have probably been in a queue or at least buying from the same place as people in your area, and in this case you could see the faces of people you're depriving of a model as they reach for the empty space. Today its not so clear cut and the internet merely presumes sales.

This is too much detail tho and the issue is far more muddy. Who is "right"? Depends on your point of view. Should you be annoyed/angry about it? Entirely up to you (personally I feel there are far bigger problems in the world). Should you post and troll and disrupt others sales posts? An emphatic No. And here's why.

No one is forcing you to buy their overpriced model. Yes its possibly annoying but any GW player looking at sales in a group will already know its true cost. If the high price means it doesn't sell it will come down in price. Simple market economics. 

I've heard the argument that marking up limited edition models drives up GW prices. This is utter twaddle. GW doesn't give a bean about the 2nd hand market. If they did, they'd be pumping out older models like nobodies business and would make a mint. Yes it may drive up 2nd hand prices... but then again... isn't that the whole point of "Limited Edition"? Its limited. 

As I said I don't have the model nor do I intend on buying one. Would I buy one if I saw it at my local shop for its original price? Maybe, but in the end its too much effort for me. The world has too many people being asshats. It needs more people being tolerant of others views. Don't give in to the rage. Close the thread and move on. Nothing to see here. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Kirby buys the farm

Well... he's not dead but thanks to a post over on BoLS lounge some light has been shed on why GW has suddenly started getting it's act together about how they regard their customers.
The story of Kirby (who apparently didn't play any GW products) pushing out Alessio because he said that GW was pricing out kids, explains the heart of the "GW is a super dick" feeling I had a year or two ago. I remember Alessio when he was at GW HQ many years ago and he was a top bloke so the fact he got pushed out for that makes Kirby seem King-douche.
If GW are looking to go back to an affordable hobby for younger players, it would explain the two pricing surprises recently. By this I mean the new Lost Patrol being just £35 and the double knight fest boxed set coming in well under the price of the contents. Both of these would have cost far more in the old regime so it's pleasing to see and bodes well for the future with GW.
Their strategy with Fantasy still remains to be proven but I am genuinely impressed and elated at a return to form by GW.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Habits of Others

I acquired some wraithguard the other day from someone on one of the Facebook buy and sell groups. They were made up and a few had been sprayed but I figured I coukd strip the paint. What I hadnt considered was how well made they were.
I guess I'm naive but I assumed most hobbyists bar the newbies clean their models before assembly. By this i mean removing the mould lines and sprue joins. These models had none of that and appeared to be assembled with superglue. I can only assume either the seller was inexperienced, needed the models assembled REALLY quickly or simply didn't care.
I find the later 2 options quite sad as for me thats all part of the wargames experience. The cleaning and assembling of the models into interesting poses is the precursor to painting and tgen the moment of using them in a game can be had. Its akin to savouring the moment. Maybe its the current instant gratification of society that perpetuates this action.
Maybe its also why I got the models for less than half price. .. so I shouldn't complain.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Games Workshop love

Well I certainly didn't think I'd be singing GW's praises any time soon but I've been pleasantly surprised by a recent interaction I had with their customer services. While cleaning up one of my windriders I found that one of the small rear fins fell apart in my hands. On closer inspection it appeared to be a bad moulding and while I could attempt a fine pinning to repair it, I felt it was GW's fault and decided to see what their customer services had to say.

Well I wasn’t expecting much but hoped they would send me the part. The rep told me their parts service no longer runs and asked to see a receipt of the original purchase. I sent him a pdf of it with the note that it wasn't purchased from a GW store. He responded with a note saying that ideally I should go back to the 3rd party seller but that he'd dispatched "a replacement" to me anyway.

Now I was expecting maybe a replacement sprue for that bit.... Today I received a whole new sealed box.... Wow.

I remember GW used to have great customer service and maybe this is a return to form. It certainly makes me feel more positive about buying direct.

Thanks GW for restoring my faith.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

KR Conundrum

Do inevitably I've started thinking about storage options for the models. Initially I thought I'd return to KR Multicase for this however upon having a gander over their website it would appear that they're not quite as good as they once were in terms of price.
Actually it was such a shock that I went and checked an old receipt from my first purchase in 2012 and they have increased their prices by about £10 on the basic cases. While they might be good quality this really puts them beyond what I'm prepared to spend for model storage (and let's be honest no one wants to spend more than they have to one something thats not models).

So I've been exploring several options including sourcing my own aluminium case and filling it with foam trays. However I think I may go with Tabletop Tyrants case system. By my calculations something that would cost me £70 with KR would cost me £45 with TT. I've not got the funds yet for this I hasten to add (waiting on some sales of other bits to fund it) but certainly hope to have something in place before we move again in Sept.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

A bundle of Eldar

My delivery finally arrived from Cumbria Wargaming Supplies. It took a lot longer than expected but this appears to be due to a website issue meaning orders aren't necessarily sent to the store owner. Bit of an ecommerce flaw. In the end I contacted the owner via Facebook and this was a lot swifter. Would I use them again? Not sure. If you're not in a hurry they are cheaper with free postage over £40. The haphazard nature of conducting business is a bit unnerving but the owner seems pleasant and genuinely does want to help.
It's a toss up between them and Triplehelix but they charge for postage regardless.

So what did I acquire you may ask? 3 x Windrider boxes, 2 Vypers, 2 Wraithlords and one Windrider Farseer. I have a rough (and slightly cheesy) 1000pt list which requires a further 2 boxes of windriders and another Vyper. I also still don't have the codex but have been using... other Internet sources in the meantime XD. There's no money for the other bits yet and I still don't have any transport options (having stupidly sold my KR Multicases a while ago) but that's OK as it's going to take me a while to get this lot together. One thing I do have to do is acquire an airbrush however my dad has one with a compressor that he doesn't (or at least didn't) use so I'm hopefully gonna snag that off him when I see him next.

I still haven't quite decided what paint scheme to use. I like the Iyanden fluff and could really enjoy making a wraith based army, but I think the yellow is a bit too much when assembled on mass. Options here are to either swap the yellow for an entirely different colour or do what I did with my Imperial Fists I painted years ago (see the gallery) and use a more mustard yellow.
Alternatively I do like the Yme-Lok colours but their fluff isn't as evocative for me.

Either way I've got time yet. I've already started on a Vyper which has some interesting challenges for magnetising the weapons. More as and when.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Watching sales

It's quite interesting, watching ebay and Facebook sales trends in wargames. You see a lot of stuff coming and going, prices changing, deals being struck then broken and of course the optimistic collector trying to sell a "collectable".

Trends I've spotted so far:

- 40k sells very well but you're unlikely to make money on your purchase price, even if it's fabulously well painted.

- splitting a large army will get you more sales on Facebook.

- No one wants Age of Sigmar or any Mantic stuff. In fact 40k is pretty much the only mover on Facebook bar a few 8th ed Warhammer.

- Facebook is primarily populated by bargain hunters. If you're wanting top dollar use ebay especially for collectors edition things.

- with that in mind something is only worth as much as someone else is willing to pay you for it. Just because you paid £200 for a limited edition art book doesn't mean someone else will.

I've yet to buy anything off Facebook partially because there are rarely any items I want and partially because when there are they are bought very quickly. It strikes me that you can get a lot of the stuff cheaper for new from certain retailers.
I'm currently awaiting delivery from a new one so will report on delivery.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dettol : a thrifty wargames best friend

Stripping paint off miniatures has been something I've done a lot of over the years. It was easier "back in the day" when most models were metal as good old NitroMors would sort them right out, but these days of plastic and resin mean that it's not as useful anymore.

My previous go-to stripping medium was Mr Muscle Kitchen Cleaner which did the job and smelled nice. I'd not used it in a few years but found recently that it doesn't work anymore (I assume they've changed the ingredients). Therefore I've gone back to Dettol.

I tried this a couple of years ago on some resin ships for Dystopian Wars with mixed results, however recent work on my Epic acquisitions has proven it's more a question of technique.

Firstly it requires a good long soak of a day or so. Secondly don't wash with water as this makes the blistered paint all claggy and sticky making removal much harder. Thirdly using tissue to wipe the paint off is much more effective  (and less messy) than a toothbrush. Save that for getting bits out of the nooks and crannies afterwards. Fourthly after all the paint has been cleaned off another long soak in water will get rid of most of the dettol smell, something that bothered me about using it.

As you can see its doing a grand job.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

..... doh

So... you know that plan to not buy GW again?  ..... turns out I am certainly GW's bitch.
:(
It's the background. Simple as. I expect it's probably because I've been reading it and imagining it for over 25 years now, but try as I might I can't get "into" any other background as much as I have the Warhammer / 40k universe.

So more recently  (since last post) I've dabbled in Mantic's Dead zone (but found the fluff very lacking), Flames of War (which although given my interest in the period, just isn't grabbing me) and Dungeons & Dragons (I still enjoy this but getting myself into the Forgotten Realms mindset was a challenge - especially as I keep finding bits I preferred from the Warhammer world).
Lastly I got a small dual army pack of Epic 40k from ebay. This was partly due to downtime on the education course I'm on and wanting to have something to play with my son when he's older, but also from disappointed with a recent Kickstarter project that I was looking forward to. While Age of Tyrants certainly has a good pedigree it's fluff is still a bit weak and most importantly of all.... I only liked a small proportion of the miniatures they offered. The majority just looked crap and I wasn't able to buy 2 starter sets without getting some models I really didn't like. It's a shame really.
Therefore this leads me into my shame..... back to GW. Not entirely sure how it happened but it was probably a link with acquiring Epic. Interestingly my predictions about new Warhammer were partly accurate. I can certainly see the new "pick up a box and play" method working in GWs favour however the community still seems divided and if Facebook sakes groups are anything to go by, it has little resale value (indicating it's not very popular).

So I've been looking at 40k again, now in its 7th edition. I must admit that having missed all the 7th ed intro stuff, it's been a little impenetrable. I've finally worked out that the core rulebook comes with 3 books and only 1 is rules, the rest being art and fluff. Psychics are back in a big way and there are fun things such as data cards and objective cards.

I spent a long while trying to work out what army to pursue this time. I wanted something I'd either not done before or not done in a while. For me the building of the models is part of the enjoyment but some models I've done in the past have been more of a pain than a joy (leman russ's and chimeras spring to mind). This narrowed it down to Nids, Necron, Eldar, Grey Knights & Skitarii. Chaos is always out as I find it very boring.

Nids still don't do it for me. I think it's the whole organic thing. While I liked the Grey Knights fluff they were too similar to Blood Angels which I've done recently. Skitarii looked really interesting but the range of models was too small for any long term project plus I'd read that the high end models require large numbers to be effective and that's rather expensive cash wise.

This left Necrons and Eldar. It then came down to cash cost. Being a poor student again means I had to be frugal. Finding cheap 40k online deals are still a thing was a bonus. Although not as cheap at the Grey Knights (rocking in at about £90 for an effective 1000pts) Eldar won out over Necrons.
I've not played Eldar since Rogue Trader (1st ed) days (although I built a grav tank when they first came out in the late 90s) so am looking forward to it all. I'm far too busy to play at any clubs for a number of months yet so this will be a slow acquisition.

Phew. Long post. Hope that's caught you all up. Updates will come as I'm able in between coursework.