Hobby Corner 5

A Quick Update for my hobby fans

For those wondering what my hobby exploits have been, I have not been up to much given the events in my previous post. However, that doesn’t mean I have been up to nothing. Take a gander at the latest model  added to the “painted” portion of my collection.

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My phone in no way does the model justice, but I’ve been a little too busy with other things to get a proper rig set up for taking model photos.

This is an “Alpha Warp Wolf” from the “Hordes” range of models, made by Privateer Press. It’s refreshing to work in a range outside of Games Workshop and there are certainly lot’s of options for creative color schemes. Some might notice his left hand is a bit… fugly. That’s my fault. I originally gave him a weapon to go with my Wolfgryns (That’s the Forge World skinwolves made into Astra Millitarum ogryns), and eventually decided against it. Always think things through completely before altering your models guys. You don’t always get a redo.

I also have a unit of smaller wolves as well, with battle-axes, and I intend to paint them all up in a winter color scheme. It’s going to be awesome! Some other models from the Hordes range are currently sitting on my bench waiting to be finished, and I will show them off as soon as they are.

I am going to try and update Hobby Corner every Friday, but it may take me some time to get a proper set up that will do this section, and my painting skills, justice. Eventually, I hope to show off entire armies, and a few amazing terrain peices.

Before I go, I would just like everyone to know that, yes, I will do commissions, but have not worked out a system to handle them effectively. If you are interested in having me paint your models, contact me at my email address and we can try to work something out.

Hobby Corner 4: Warhammer 40,000 8th edition

It finally happened! Last Saturday I finally got my mits on the newest Warhammer 40,000 rulebook, and I have to admit… I was rather disappointed.

Most of the book was background fluff, which is good for people just getting into the game, or for old vets like myself coming back and needing an update on what’s happened in the universe of the dark imperium; but not so great for the $75 price tag. Actual rules are crammed together on about ten pages, with the back of the book devoted to scenarios and promotions for codexes and game expansions. Honestly, it’s not surprising, but I think the 6th and 7th edition books at least offered more for the money. They were even chincy on the army photos this time, which has always been one of my favorite parts of the books. With all the reused artwork, and not costing them much to make, it’s starting to look like Games Workshop hasn’t change that much after all.

So what about the rules this time? Are they better? Are the worse? Well…

It’s a mixed bag. I would agree that the rules for 6th and 7th edition were bloated beyond enjoyability, but I don’t think they should have given it the Age of Sigmar treatment with a thunder hammer. Most of the changes have already been discussed on  sites with better access to rulebooks, so I’m not going to make an itemized list. I will however post my thoughts on some of the more extreme things, and how I think they will change the game.

Removal of initiative

I’m on the fence with this one. Granted, initiative either made a unit combat gods, or it made them useless, but I think this is an area that could have been expanded upon as opposed to thrown away. Leaving close combats up to a round- robin with the players throws a little too much randomness into the mix. On the plus side, chargers always go first again, so that added back a little bit of a strategy element. A bit of give and take at the moment. We’ll just have to wait and see how it holds up.

Split Shooting

Or in other words, units no longer have to waste heavy weapon shots on fodder meat. This is a good change in my opinion, as it better represents squaddies giving covering fire to a heavy weapon specialist targeting a big baddie. It also allows a squad to deal with multiple threats at once. With the new amor rules I see this change as a good thing and hope there will be more like it.

Armor Reduction as opposed to Armor Penetration

I’ll be honest, I hated the AP rules. Some guns were incredibly powerful as a result *cough* plasma *cough* and other guns, such as high powered cannons, and heavy machine guns, were next to useless. The Armor Reduction rules, however, are nothing new, they’re old, brought back from the days of 2nd edition when Space Marine Terminators didn’t go down to a few guardsmen with super guns.  I’m excited for this change, as it’s added a lot of tactical flexibility back into weapon choices. No longer is heavy dreadnought armor simply ignored because someone has a glowing sword. Now those units will still get some protection, even if it is reduced by the weapon’s power.

Vehicle Wounds and Toughness Values

Another change I’m a little iffy on. Not having to dance around with your tank to take advantage of armor facings is a definite plus, but now heavy battle tanks are somewhat susceptible to small arms fire. I suppose it is a lot simpler than 7th editions vehicle charts and structure points, while still accomplishing the job of ensuring a Land Raider doesn’t go down to a single shot from a missile launcher, but it’s one of those things I think simply needed some improvement. Like with initiative, I’m going to give it the “wait and see” treatment. In the long run, it probably will be a better system.

Removal of Templates

This one I don’t like. Replacing blast and flame templates with randomly determined attacks is one of those things that really is too simple for it’s own good. There was nothing wrong with the template system. If it was under the template, it was hit, if not, it wasn’t, and provided for a more accurate impact of explosions and gouts of flame. The new random D6 rule has neutered pounding battle cannons, earth shakers, death strike missiles, and other weapons of mass impact, while making rapid fire and straight shot weapons more powerful. Other than losing templates after games, I don’t recall this ever being a problem. It was a nice element and opened up tactical options that are no longer available. I hope GW brings this back in the future.

And that’s it. There are a few things left that might warrant a mention, such as multiple wounding weapons, or making every vehicle an assault platform, but, in the grand scheme of things, these are just additions (or subtractions) to elements that were already there. If there is enough interest, I can discuss those later. Command Points are also something that warrants a discussion, but as they are optional, again, I’ll leave those for another time, perhaps alongside the new detachment rules.

Now, I promised pictures, so here we go.

Not being a fan of the Ogryn models for Adeptus Militarum, and needing some heavy hitters that fit the canine theme of my inquisitorial strike force, I decided to get some skin wolves from Forge World and convert them up to represent a unit of Bullgryns.

Skinwolf Ogryns

Again, not the best picture, but good enough for a quick peak at one of my current modeling projects (oh yes, there’s more). As you can see, I’ve given them armor plates from dreadnoughts and cut up battle cannons. Provided storm shields for Brute Shields (essentially the same thing anyway), and gave them auto cannons for mauls (yes, they swing around entire auto-cannons). Given my inquisitor would likely be looking for an edge against all enemies, a little bit of genetic manipulation is small potatoes compared to summoning and bonding demons into service. Besides, everyone gives into chaos eventually. Sounds better than being eaten by bugs.

Here’s a better picture of the swinging one as he got a little cut off.

 

Skinwolf Ogryn Swing

I wish I had more to show you, but these were the best pictures of the quick snaps I made. I think I have a photo box around somewhere, as well as a few spot lamps I need to pull out, but that will have to wait for another time. Until then, keep checking back for more photos and discussions of my modeling hobby, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of “The Last Chronicle of Azureden: A Deal in the Darkness” to support me and my work. You won’t regret it.

And before anyone asks, yes, I am still working on book 2 😉

Zazzle and Hobby Corner 3

Hey! It’s an update, which means there must be things to talk about. Well yes. Yes there are.

First and foremost, business. Book 2 of The Last Chronicle of Azurden is taking longer to write than I would like, but I assure everyone, it is being worked on. Aside from numerous other obligations that keep cropping up at inopportune times, a lot of the delay also has to do with Book 2’s complex plot structure. “A Deal in the Darkness” was simple. It involved one viewpoint, an introduction to a new world, and a narrative that took place in essentially two or three locations. Book 2 involves two viewpoints, takes place across an entire continent, and involves much more backstory than Book 1 did. Weaving it all together has been… trying, but I refuse to sacrifice quality by taking shortcuts and making idiotic continuity errors. Also, as I’m sure seasoned readers are probably wondering, no, I am not trying to complicate the plot for complication’s sake. The overall plot structure eventually required the second veiwpoint to surface and be focused upon more regularly than it already has. After all, The Last Chronicle of Azurden isn’t just one story, it’s part of a much grander tapestry I hope to one day expand on when this first series is finished. In this way Book 2 is probably the most critical in the series, hence why I want to make sure it’s the best it can be.

Next, Ellysian Press has opened it’s own storefront through zazzle called the Ellysian vault, selling book reading essentials such as book marks, totes and coffee mugs (or tea mugs if you prefer). I encourage anyone looking for a new reading utensil to pop on in and take a look. You would be helping Ellysian Press and supporting the authors you love to read. Not to mention there is just so much cool stuff featuring the awesome covers of your favorite books. Linky: The Ellysian Vault

Now we get to the Hobby Corner aspect, and something a lot of tabletop hobby enthusiasts have been buzzing about for most of the summer. The New Edition of Warhammer 40,000.

As other parts of this blog will demonstrate, though not a rabid fan, I have devoted a sum of my life and a considerable amount of my capital to the immortal emperor of mankind.  From Space Marines, to Tyranids, Grey Knights and Imperial Guard, I have played 40k off and on since high school, and one time even worked at the U.S. based headquarters of Games Workshop itself. For almost four years now, I have been divorced from the hobby due to Games Workshop policies of treating its customers (and employees) as little more than simple commodities, easily gained, and tossed, at their discretion. Nothing demonstrated this mindset more than the complete dissolution of Warhammer Fantasy, their rank and file battle game that, despite lackluster sales, still had a humongous following and several video game adaptations (some of which were ironically released that same year). Now understand, I’m not saying they simply stopped making models for it, or said the last rule book would be the last edition. I’m saying they completely dropped it from the face of existence, to the point they won’t even let you play the game in their stores anymore. To add insult to injury, they replaced it with an infantile skirmish game called Age of Sigmar, that had no sense of balance, and made people do ridiculous and obnoxious things for cheap boons. Having hundreds, (if not thousands) wrapped up in Warhammer Fantasy, and the arrogant responses from Games Workshop marketing department, (not to mention the 40K fans who felt their game invincible) I had enough, and swore GW would not get another dime of my money until they either did a full 360, or sold the IP rights to a company that actually gave a damn about their customers. Fast forward two years later. Games Workshop has had a complete shakeup of their upper management, part of which resulted in the overthrow of evil overlord Tom Kirby. Two of the company’s best creatives are back, and suddenly, their is a significant turnaround concerning the release of their games and the treatment of their IP’s. Warhammer Fantasy is still gone, and will probably remain so, but Age of Sigmar has been reworked, and 40K is due to be overhauled. Marketing is actually reaching out to the customers, and GW stores, which had almost disappeared from the landscape, are slowly starting to return. I began hearing something from the Warhammer hobby community I had not heard in a long time, contentment, even (gasp) praise. Though cautious, I have decided to give GW another chance, and with the release of Warhammer 40K eighth edition, I felt now would be the perfect time. Who knows, maybe in another year, Warhammer Fantasy will return as well.

Sadly, due to very high demand, I have been unable to get a new rulebook at the time of this writing (I was supposed to have one. I’d ordered one, but they are still filling out back orders) and so don’t have a copy of the rules to facilitate a fair discussion. I could talk about what I know, such as vehicles now having wounds, and the return of armor reduction as opposed to straight penetration, but then I might miss something surrounding those aspects that also warrants discussion. That being the case, I’ll end this for now, and return in a week or so when I actually have a copy in hand and can break down my views and opinions on what I think of the changes (for those who care about that sort of thing). Until then, watch this space, as I am already getting new models and expanding one of my armies thanks to the imperial 2 index that came out alongside. Yes, there will be pictures 🙂

Hobby Corner 2: Rise of the Warhound

Okay, I was saving this bad boy for some better filters, a high end camera, and perhaps a professional film studio. But given it’s author week, I’m bringing out the biggest and the baddest in my modeling collection. THE WARHOUND TITAN

Warhound

The Mars Pattern Warhound Titan is the largest model in my collection, and yes, it was all hand painted by me. Armed with a Vulcan Mega Bolter and a Plasma Blast Cannon, this beast is a bane to both light and heavy infantry, wiping out entire battlefield of them on it’s own. However, without anti-vehicle support, it is vulnerable to other heavy walkers and anti-armor.

There are several things about this Warhound that make it incredibly unique. First, it is done up in the sigils, signs, and colors of the Imperial Inquisition, (which in itself would be heresy, but I don’t care). Next, the exterior is done up with one layer of red paint and SEVERAL layers of red ink, giving it that bright metallic sheen, without covering the whole thing in lacquer. It was a technique I discovered by accident, and would love to use again, however, sadly, inks are not often sold for painting anymore. Finally, the entire interior is painted, which is rare for most models, but especially huge ones like this titan. Though not the most flattering picture, it’s real beauty is best seen in the close ups, as the sheer size of the thing is very difficult to capture with my current photo setup.

Warhound HeadWarhound Cockpit

As you can see, the drivers and Titan Princeps are completely painted. (Yes, that is a kilt he’s wearing). Many hobbyists who even own one of these beasts don’t paint the insides, as its easy to glue the armor over the interiors and hide them, (and the external is plenty enough for many to paint!). However, I always go above and beyond on such projects because I see no point in having such a grand piece if you’re not going to to do the best with it you absolutely can.

Warhound Terminal
Titan Reactor Computer and Weapon Servitors

The reactor and servitors aren’t as flashy as the cockpit, are usually hidden by the overhead engine fans, and require more work than any other interior portion. So, even I was wondering whether or not they were worth doing. In the end, I caved to my pride, and did it anyway. In certain games, it’s possible to use this area as a small battleground to wrest control of the titan, or blow it up.

Now, I know I’ve been going on about how big this thing actually is, so to give a size comparison, I placed a few scale miniatures next to it, along with a common run-of-the-mill Pepsi can.

Warhound Size

Real Sugar! I mean… imagine painting that beast and all it’s details. At it’s right foot, you see a light walker and a few infantry (that it can smash), and at it’s left you see a Leman Russ battle tank, currently the second largest standard size battle tank in the game. (Land Raiders are the largest, and I own three of them, but you’ll just have to wait until later to get a look at those beauties) For those about to extoll the grandeur of the Baneblade, I did say “standard”.

So there you have it. One of the grandest pieces I own. I have others, such as dragons, walkers, and airplanes, that rival it in terms of scope and being centerpieces on the hobbyist battlefield, but this is easily my largest project to date. Deep down I want to get another one, but I don’t have the $700 to burn, and even if I did, Forgeworld stopped selling it’s counterpart, the Lucius Pattern variant, some time ago, and aren’t likely to ever bring it back. It’s place as the largest walker in the 40K modeling range has also since been taken by the Warlord Titan, a massive mech more human in appearance and more than twice the Warhound’s size. Regardless, it remains one of the most precious models in my collection, and I am glad I got to share it with all of you.

Hobby Corner Part 1

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It’s hobby day! Above is a picture of my recently established hobby corner. It’s a bit of a mess, but then again, a hobby area that isn’t a mess is a hobby area that isn’t being used. Could it be larger? Sure, but it’s the right size right now, and I’ll continue to show things off as they are moved and added. Right now though, let’s discuss the hobby in general.

I collect, assemble, and paint model soldiers. Call it what you will, I feel it’s a great activity for the artistically inclined. Though not as popular as it was during the days of model trains and paper gliders, it has had many ups and downs over the years as companies come and go, but seems to be on the path of a slow and steady revival. It may never be as mainstream as video games have become, but I find it far more fulfilling completing a real project than killing yet another digital monster in the newest MMO. Not that I have anything against video games per se, but I have never been able to express myself through them to the same level as I can with this. Want to paint a train pink? Paint that train pink! Want to model that airplane your flying after the Red Baron? Go for it! Want to make an army of furries? Well… yes, you can do that to. That’s not to say there aren’t some limitations. A collection isn’t a collection if you aren’t actually collecting something, so the majority of us are limited by the canvas we buy, aka, the types of models and manufactures we choose to use. Much of my stuff currently is from Games Workshop, but recently a number of smaller companies such as Mantic, Privateer Press, and CoolMiniOrNot have begun carving out their shares of the market, and I have been taking a long hard look at them as well. More on those in another post.

Right now however, much of my stuff is still being set up, so I do not yet have a display for taking pictures. I am also currently at work making terrain and scenery to take those pictures with, as models, no matter how well painted, just don’t look that great on a kitchen table under a simple camera flash. That setup will take time, which unfortunately I don’t have a lot of, but as a treat, and to give an idea of what I work with, I have taken a few snaps of a terrain piece I’m currently finishing to be used in games, displays, and photographs for later.

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Yes, it doesn’t look like much right now, a dusty temple ruin just leaving the assembly stages, but all of it was made by scrap pieces I had lying around, stuff from movement trays, modeling and railroad sand, and blocks from hirstarts. It will look great once painted, and yes, that is a Space Marine chapter master in the center there.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the Tyranids like it too much, as they ambush this patrol in the middle of the night.

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-Allan B. Anderson