A Milestone Reached

Roughly fourteen years ago, I bought a plastic bag of fifty one metal stromtroopers for (I think) twenty dollars. They were meant to go with my Grey Knights army, which was then part of a cool Warhammer 40,000 codex called Codex: Deamonhunters. Since then, the Deamonhunters have been split up, and whereas the Grey Knights got their own separate army book, the inquisitors and storm troopers were largely relegated to the dust bin of history. This was a tad demoralizing at first, but, I liked these guys, and I really wanted to see them finished. Well, on Sunday, after years of painting them on and off, I’ve finally done it.

Inquisitorial Storm Troopers

It’s not the Greatest photo, but it’s still a matter of pride. I will take better pictures of them when I get my equipment replaced. Some of it is cheap, old, or falling apart. For now, here are some close ups of my Tempestor Prime, which was done up on a whim only last week in a fit of hobby madness.

Tempestor Prime Conversion
Tempestor Prime Back

His expression is goofy, I know, but it’s perfect for the classic vibe I was originally going for. How fortunate for him the hobby bug bit me at just the right time and I ended up making him a senior officer instead of a scenery statue. 😀

So who are these troopers you may ask? Why are fifty soldiers, a fairly average number by Warhammer 40,000 standards so important to me? Well, for the same reason something is important to anyone, there’s a story behind them, much as there is a story behind this entire army, and some of it, I would like to share with you now. Keep in mind, this story started fourteen years ago, when I worked for Games Workshop, and the rules for the game were very different than they are now. For the sake of narrative, I will try to weave things together without explaining a bunch of rules changes, but props to those who get the context clues.

The Founding of the Crimson Curs I

Lord Inquisitor <REDACTED> was never at the forefront of the Ordo Malleus. Yes, he had near unlimited authority, and yes, he led alongside the highest ranks of the Grey Knight brotherhood. But he found keeping his head down, and focusing only on his most immediate tasks, tended to keep him out of the crosshairs of his inquisitorial rivals. Despite his critics, this didn’t mean he was cowardly, or dim. He still had authority over several worlds, and had even used said authority to marshal his own private forces, as any Inquisitor Lord should when they need to ‘skirt’ around imperial red tape. He even managed to acquire a holy Warhound Titan by bribing a high ranking member of Mars.

Alongside his allies, The Grey Knights, he had many battles against demons, mutants, and heretics. He learned much of his foes, but learned even more about himself, and what it took to lead his forces directly. His storm troopers could not take the punishment of the heavily armored Grey Knights. His own tanks couldn’t match the power of their Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders. The Grey Knights were few in number, but they always proved the more effective, and always took the credit for most of his victories. Again, this led to much criticism, and some wondered if his title was simply a political appointment, or some grand favor with the expected support. Even the Grey Knights had reported his forces were rarely needed, and that, when the Lord Inquisitor was present, he often “stayed back and barked orders while his soldiers were sent to their deaths. Pardon me, my lords, but I thought Lord Inquisitors were supposed to be on the front lines, dolling out the emperor’s justice.” Still, these criticisms and threats did not phase Lord Inquisitor <REDACTED> as it all remained part of his strategy to both stay alive, and stay off the radar of his enemies; for a coward, he knew, is never considered a threat. Content in his practicality, things remained this way for many years.

But, as it always does, things change, and his contentedness eventually caught up with him. As Cadia breathed its last gasp, and a rent in the warp tore the galaxy in half, a tremendous reorganizing effort was launched by the High Lords of Terra. Among these efforts, and little known to much of the imperium, was the stripping of ranks from all but the most famous of Inquisitor Lords. Along with this demotion came the moratorium on personal inquisitorial armies, save for a few of the most devoted of acolytes, which they could still take with them as cannon fodder. In what felt like a single day, Lord Inquisitor <REDACTED> had become merely, Inquisitor <REDACTED>, without an army to his name.

To add insult to injury, The Grey Knights, having long held Inquisitor <REDACTED> in contempt for his relative lack of fiery judgment, felt this demotion was a good time to go their own way, and so they left the Inquisitor’s service, with the caveat that, if he wished to join them, he would have to do so under their rules, and follow their orders, now that even their lowly Brother Captains outranked him. Of all the things that had happened, this betrayal hurt the inquisitor the most, but, he was a proud, and clever man, as one would have to be in his position, and so, he silently refused the Grey Knights ‘offer’, and stepped into the shadows, to plan, to prepare, and to reclaim his original status, through any means necessary.

Deep in his underground bunker complex on the shadowy world of Errassis, The inquisitor began pouring over manuscripts, datasheets, and political decrees, looking for any loopholes he could. His men were still loyal, and his arms and armor still belonged to him, even his Warhound Titan, as its existence had been stripped from Martian record. But, without Imperial Authority, he could not field any of them, lest he be arrested as a traitor, or worse, a heretic. He needed to act outside of inquisitorial constraints, and as his finger began running past a record of Astra Militarum regiments, (a name he thought to be silly, as Imperial Guard had worked just fine for millenia) he came across his solution.

The Militarum Tempestus was the new designation for Storm Trooper squads, and his men had both the equipment and the training necessary to qualify. The problem, was that he couldn’t lead them directly. Using his rapidly depleting connections, and a significant portion of what remained of his treasury, he managed to get one of his more promising sergeants registered as a Tempestor Prime, and his soldiers codified as a Militarum Tempestus retinue dubbed, ‘The Crimson Curs’, a name his men weren’t particularly fond of, but found better than the alternatives the inquisitor came up with. They would meet only the most basic of requirements , but for Inquisitor <REDACTED> that was enough, at least at the time.

Long after the paperwork had been submitted, and battle plans including his tanks and mobile armor were being made, the formal acceptance for his soldiers new designation finally arrived, and along with it came all the Militarum Tempestus regulations on armor and equipment. As they were no longer his ‘personal’ army, and could be called up to serve the Imperium at large, standards dictated the Crimson Curs could not field any tanks and transports that had not been made specifically for Millitarum Tempestus use, nor could they use weapons deemed beneath their level of expertise. This included much of Inquisitor <REDACTED>’s existing armor, and even a few of his niche specialists that had been trained in the use of plasma cannons, heavy bolters, and sniper rifles. Though not known for being a temperamental or brash individual, rumors state that unmentionable curses could be heard from Inquisitor <REDACTED>’s office, and that he set many of his older records, some of which were heresies yet to be investigated, to flame. Though he would often sell their lives as a clerk sells candy, Inquisitor <REDACTED> cared deeply about his soldiers, and now, he would need to find some other means of supporting them, lest they be torn asunder by the larger and stronger forces of Chaos, Xenos, and the now questionable sanity of the Imperium and its lap dogs.

As his soldiers continued to prepare for their new role as a Tempestus regiment, Inquistor <REDACTED> cloistered himself in his sanctum and took to the Tempestus documents to do what he did best, find loopholes. It turned out, supporting his soldiers was not out of the question, but that he would have to request forces from Imperial Auxilla, such as the ogre-like Ogryns, and the priests of the Ecclesiarchy, neither of which he wanted fighting alongside his ‘Tempustus Scions in name only’ as it would likely turn heads, and attract the noses of his rivals. But, he needed something, and he no longer had the necessary clout to acquire Taurox Prime transports, the only terrestrial support vehicles his storm troopers were allowed to use. It was when he was thinking this over, while reviewing a genetic treatise that had been flagged for heresy, that he hatched upon a daring, and controversial idea. If he did not wish to call upon Ogryns from the existing Astra Militarum Regiments, perhaps he could create his own. (To be continued)

The new, The old, and The Future of My Hobby

As some of you know, when it comes to Warhammer 40,000, I have a large collection of models. Not as many as the more ardent collectors of the hobby, but certainly more than most. To date: My armies are:

(Really Old) Space Marines roughly 2,ooo pts

(Kraken) Tyranids roughly 1.000 pts

Grey Knights 1,500 pts

Astra Militarum 1,000 pts

Certainly not the grandest of forces, to be sure, but, these are simply the actual lists. Many of my models are spread across multiple armies, editions, releases, and even games, which makes my collection considerably larger than these points values would dictate, should I actually finish building and painting what’s still on my ‘To Do’ pile.

But that ‘To Do’ pile is entirely why I started writing this. Having been MIA from the 40k scene for (several) years now, I find myself wondering if anything still sitting on the back burner of my collection is still worth doing. And, the answer is . . . I have no fricking idea.

The Primaris Problem

Even after having left the 40k hobby for some years now, I have dipped my head back in from time to time to know about the Primaris Marines. The ‘better’ ‘stronger’ ‘more powerful’ ‘better armed’ and ultimately boring new space marine models. I know why GW did this. It’s painfully obvious for anyone with half a brain. With so many hobbyists sitting on large armies of space marines already, there needed to be a new reason to make them buy models, and that meant making their old models . . . obsolete.

And yes, that is certainly the plan. With all the new releases being primaris marines, all the new artwork being only primaris marines, and every chapter (except Grey Knights) having access to primaris marines, Games Workshop is making it clear that primaris marines are the future, and that this ‘sunset’ period of the old marines is approaching its inevitable end.

Of course, Games Workshop won’t say this directly. In fact, their exact words on the subject are that the old space marines “aren’t going anywhere”, and this is entirely truthful. They will remain in the previous editions of 40k, where Games Workshop no doubt feels they belong. Just like all my fantasy armies are perfectly viable in any games of Warhammer Fantasy Battles . . . should I ever happen to fine one.

But ragging on GW, and their obvious and totally expected business practices, is not why I’m writing this. Honestly, I don’t really care about the primaris marines one way or another. In fact, I’ve even considered starting a new chapter with those models, just as GW intended. The reason I’m writing this is stated above, and that is the idea of whether what I still have to work on will be worth finishing up. And that is why the primaris marines are an issue to consider.

The Cost of Finishing Something Old verses Starting Something New

Let’s be honest, every hobbyist has a slew of models that will never see paint, and some even have boxes that will never see assembly. We all have grand ideas that never see fruition, and I am certainly no exception to the fact. However, when it comes to armies, I like to try and ‘finish’ them, if for nothing else than to increase their value for resale, or displaying them as my father loved to display his trains. But ‘finishing’ armies takes time, and effort, and if I could be spending that time and effort on something that’s ‘up to date’ I might be better off in the long run for both playing the game, and displaying my work.

However, I already have the models to be ‘finished’ and I would have to purchase the newer models. Not to mention that some of those ‘out of date’ models, such as my old inquisitorial stormtroopers, are still perfectly viable in game as Militarum Tempestus Scions. (New Storm Troopers). There is also the fact that I have completely given up on finishing my Tyranids (given that, in the end, I didn’t like playing them), so those are, in all respects, completely off the table. So then, the problem comes down to old Astra Militarum units, and practically all of my Grey Knights.

The Grey Knights are, for the most part, a done deal already. Most of the important models are painted, and I even have an old unit of models with hammers and storm shields (a shame they aren’t an option anymore). In fact, all I have is a few unpainted psycannons and a box of terminators. So, what’s the problem? Well . . . the Primaris marines, of course. Given their increase in size, stats, and their absolute incompatibility with the Grey Knights (at least for now. I’m sure GW will shoehorn them in) I’m left wondering if the whole army won’t just become a very pretty but unplayable heap of metal. Even the Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts are looking at the Primaris vehicles and sweating bullets. Do I take the hours and days to ‘finish’ up my Grey Knight army, never to actually play it? Or do I simply shelve what’s left to do and put the army on permanent display in my cabinet? Only time will tell, as a new Grey Knight Codex should be coming out soon, according to GW, anyway.

For my stormtroopers, the future is a tad more rosy. Sure my current stormtroopers look rigid compared to the newer ones, but, unlike the space marines, they are close enough in appearance and size to their current counterparts that playing them shouldn’t be an issue. Lemen Russ battle tanks, and Valkeryie drop ships don’t appear to be going anywhere either. My chimeras are a little worried about the tauroxs, but they at least still have their niche uses and slightly better stats. No, the one’s I’m worried about, are my special weapons sniper squad (built and painted) and my unbuilt, unpainted, shotgun veterans. As Imperial Guard players know, Rough Riders were . . . left out of the current codex, and though they certainly only rarely saw sales, it was proof positive that GW intended to clip the guards unit list of ‘obsolete’ models as well. Veterans and Special Weapons teams were included in the current codex, but they are relatively older add ons from older additions and most guard armies don’t play them anymore. The current kits don’t even include the weapons. This makes me wonder if they will make it to the next edition, and if converting models for them is a colossal waste of time. Adding to this issue are the old guard models; the unique and characterful guard models; the models you can still play with and who still have rules, such as Tallarn, or Mordian Iron Guard; the models you can no longer buy, and only rarely see pictures of. Hint. hint.

The Conclusion

And so, that is the situation I currently find myself in hobby wise. Do I continue building and painting what I have, knowing that I am likely working on ‘sunset’ units? Or, do I just bite the bullet and start collecting a brand new and up to date army? Given that one costs money, and the other costs time, that is why I said, I have no idea.

There are other factors to consider of course, and I will touch on each of these in a later post, but for now, I have some . . . let’s call them ‘Hobby Qualms’ that also need addressing.

  • I prefer metal to plastic
  • I think many of the older models look better than the newer ones
  • There are other model ranges to collect and paint.

I will only address the first two right now, and briefly.

First, I love working with metal. It is a pain in the ass to customize, and convert, and heaven help you if the model’s balance is off even a little bit, BUT, learning to work with these things makes me a more adaptable hobbyist, it increases my knowledge of tools and methods, and gives me a good deal of experience when it comes to converting the easier and lighter resin and plastic. Not to mention the new vocabulary of curse words when something goes wrong. However, the biggest reward of metal to me is the sense of permanence. It has weight, in more ways than one. Plastic feels like I’m playing with cheep dollar store toys, and resin feels like I’m playing with paper. All current GW models are plastic, save for a very select few which they simply haven’t sold yet from their storage.

Second, when it comes to starting a new chapter, I think the current primaris space marines are so bland, even sugar free vanilla looks tasty by comparison. Their masks are blank and featureless. Their weapons scream trying too hard. And their vehicles . . . Well, I think they’re repulsor vehicles look truly repulsive. That is why I think I will continue sticking with the Imperial Guard, at least until I see where this primaris train intends to go, and eventually, I may get off at another station, again. There are other, better looking model ranges, and as a hobbyist, I don’t need to limit myself to Games Workshop.

Whiiiiiiich brings me to the final statement of this long rant. (Get used to these). I am currently looking at other hobby ranges to build and paint from. I won’t go into details now, but I have intentions of introducing some of these ranges on my workbench in the future.

If you made it this far, I thank you for sticking with me through the muddling of my thoughts. Doing it this way helps me make better decisions, and you can see my thought processes and compare them to your own. I will still talk about Warhammer and Games Workshop, but their decisions have kept me at arms length, even when trying to see what they are currently up to. Stay posted to see what I decide. Things might get just a little more interesting.

Plans, plans, and more plans. Or, time to stop planning and just Do.

Looking over this site, I see there are several problems with it. With all my posts being on the front page, if someone wants to know about tabletop gaming, or see my model collection, they have to slog through posts about book updates, and author shares. If they want to know how my stories are coming along, they’ll have to read yet another article about Warhammer 40K. Of the many things about this site that needs to change, I think that needs to change the most.

This site also needs a gallery. Sure, you can see the (poor) photographs of my warhound titan if you dig through the archives. But I want to show it off in a way people can just look it up and see it. (Especially important for advertising a model painting business). I also want to show off artwork of my book stuff, though that front is a bit more lacking on content for the moment.

The links page will probably go bye bye as well. If I want to show people something, I’ll just show it to them. There’s no need to keep a page just for permanent external links, some of which are likely out of date anyway. As for important links like my publishers and friends, I’ll probably put those somewhere else.

Either way, this needs some better navigation, and that is what I will be working on in the coming weeks, months… again, whenever I feel like it. It sounds lazy I know, but I whenever I try to force myself to do something, I fail at it. In fact, I often fail so spectacularly, that I actually wind up doing less work than if I hadn’t really cared about updating at all. This doesn’t hold true under external pressure. Under external pressure, I can do some pretty amazing things. But, when the only one who determines whether I update this site is yours truly, the mindset of having to update every day, or on a strict schedule, just doesn’t work. I know this might be inconvenient to readers in the information age, where people are used to checking sites at a certain time for updates, but if you want more posts like this, that might be interesting, and personal, then this is just how things have to be. I will try to update on a semi-regular basis, but that is the best I can promise. This site was never meant to be a daily blog. It was meant to be an adventure for those who wanted to learn more about me and my work, and that is how I have to approach it.

I’m back, though I never left.

Hello everyone. It’s been over a year since I last updated, and in that time, a lot has happened; none of it all that good. I’m not going to wax poetic about the riots, Covid, or the presidential elections. I will, however, choose not to put on a happy go lucky face, like many creators do, and pretend like nothing bad is happening. I considered it. I considered it for a long while. But, in the end, one of the reasons I haven’t updated for so long, is because doing so, in such a way, would have been dishonest, and I can’t stand dishonesty. Again, that doesn’t mean I will talk about it all that much, or that this page is going to become just another political pundit podium. It does mean, however, that I must say this before continuing.

Those of you who voted for Joe Biden will get what you voted for, and whether or not you like what that ends up being, I don’t care.

I have watched the country I loved burned, spit upon, and invaded. I have watched the hatred stirred up by both sides, and the shouting of the ignorant for change they don’t understand. On the internet, everyone’s an expert, so I’m not going to tell you what should be done, what should have happened, or why this is good, and this is bad. If you want to know my opinions on those things, you’ll have to read my books. I guarantee no matter which side of the spectrum you may be on, you’re in for a surprise.

This place is for updates on smaller, happier things. Things about release dates, stories I’m working on, other authors, painting projects, and the occasional discussion about tabletop and video gaming. Those are the opinions I want to put here, and I will do my level best to keep it that way.

So, why now? Why, after over a year of silence have I come back to an audience of practically no one? Am I going to promise more updates? Do I have something special planned? Is book two of “The Last Chronical of Azurden” finally finished? No. I’m not doing any of that this time. I am writing this because I want to. I am writing this because I finally wanted to make a post after over a year of silence. If I make a post tomorrow, or next week, or next month, it will also be because I wanted to. This is how it has to be, because I can’t force myself to be social. I have tried. I have tried numerous times. But I am so anti-social it almost physically hurts to forcefully open myself up to the world. Some might call this laziness, others might call it cowardice, but no matter what you call it, it is just me. It is who I am, and I doubt I am going to change.

Finally, anyone out there who’s interested in the adventures of Renard the fox in book two of “The Last Chronicle of Azurden”, rest assured it is still being worked on. Yes, I realize it’s been four years since book one came out, and that anyone should be able to write a book in four years. In truth, I have written three books, all of which is scrapped material from book two, because it just didn’t work. I understand that, sometimes, you “just have to mark it done, and move on”, that “nothing is going to be perfect,” and that, “having three mediocre books out is better than not having any,” and in every case, you would be right. I can’t stand up and claim, “but my books are different!”, “My books are special!”, because they aren’t. They are the tale of a human turned into a walking fox through dark magic, and though not the most popular of topics, I’m certain someone out there knows of at least ten more stories with a reasonably similar plot. There is nothing new under the sun, as they say. But, despite knowing these things, and despite the shame of it taking so long, there is a cardinal truth I cannot ignore about my writing. Whatever I choose to release, I have to be happy with, even if it’s a rush job, and if I’m not happy with it, then I don’t want my name on it. I know a lot of people won’t understand that. Even author’s have to eat. But, every bit of my writing reflects on me in some way, it contains a part of who I am, and where I’ve been in this journey called life. Yes, even this post. If at any time I don’t feel that to be the case, then I wind up scrapping the part I don’t like, or even the whole thing, and starting again, if at all. Some will call this stupid, a waste of time, and even torture, and I would agree, but, it is still who I am, and who I have always been, and it is the only person that can write the books, and the stories that I do. All I can say then in regards to it’s release, is to please, be patient. It will be done when it is done.

I will beg for you to buy my books on other sites. If you’re interested, I already have a page dedicated to them. Here, I just want to be myself.

New Computer

Hey Everyone. Just dropping a line to let everyone know I’ve recently gotten a new computer, since Apples are overpriced pieces of junk. This new system uses windows 10, and transferring things over has proven a pain. I’m a little sad, because I did like the Apple operating system, but their hardware isn’t worth the paper all the money I spent for it wasn’t printed on. I suppose I could make a hackintosh, but honestly, Apple has become so proprietary, I don’t really see much of a point.

This time around, as far as writing is concerned, I am also going to give Scrivener a try, instead of Microsoft Word. Microsoft word is okay, but I have never been a fan of the subscription model to software use and I try to avoid it as much as I can. Microsoft still sells an earlier *student* version of their software that doesn’t require a subscription fee, but it likely gets little support, and the licensing is wonky, just like if I were to install one of their old office disks. (Most computers don’t even have an optical drive anymore. I have to buy those separately. We will rue the day we gave up physical ownership of our books, games, and software libraries, but most people only care about the convenience.)

That is where I leave this for now. So far, attempts at weekly updates has been a resounding failure, but I refuse to give up on keeping a website. I just need more stuff to talk about that might interest people… it’s just a matter of finding out what…