Tag Archives: Miniatures

Salute – Post Weekend Thoughts


The weekend has come and gone (yes, I know there’s no need to tell you that as we’re now slap bang in the middle of the working week) and Salute is now nothing more than a memory of a cracking day out with one’s friends. I have to commend it to the guys that put this shindig on, for a 40 year anniversary it was the best one I’ve been to by a long shot. I don’t know whether that was down to just the company I kept, the amount of stuff on display, or the fact that I’m being a lot more controlled about how I’ll spend my cash.

We arrived just after 11am and the place was brimming by the time we sauntered into the hall. After a couple of previous visits the layout is familiar enough that I know what we’re going to be in for. Sadly I didn’t win one of the Battlefoam bags on offer if you bagged a Dahl-esque golden ticket in your goody bag.

As usual with Salute the number of things to see far exceeds what you can actually get through in a single day. I went with the intention of trying a few things out but it just didn’t pan out that way, I didn’t actually get to try out any games, which is sad considering I’ve been looking at models for things like Eden and Bushido and I’d love to see how the games played rather than adding another game to my repertoire just on the look of the figures. Speaking of models that look nice with no rules; there was a stand by a company called Hawk Wargames showing off their models for a new 10mm sci-fi game called  Dropzone Commander. I’ve put a couple of photos (off my phone) below. I had a chance to handle some of them and the detail is incredible, I tried to pin the guy down on price but “expensive but affordable” isn’t exactly what I was wanting to know. Apparently the rules are currently in play testing and pre-orders will go up from the start of June for release in July. Unfortunately the website that the flyers they were handing out at the show point to is rubbish. It’s a graphic showing you some of the models and a link to Twitter and Facebook, not much information to be had which I find disappointing. Considering the interest that was shown in at Salute they’re going to need to feed the community or that interest will wane quickly. Still, it’s worth taking a look at.

In terms of my purchasing for the day (I went to a gaming show, you know I’m going to spend some readies!) I wanted to take a look at any offers on Infinity stuff to round out my selections and also to look at one of the small KR cases that you can use for skirmish gaming. It would save me lugging my bigger bags around when I only want ten figures. In the end though I took advantage of the £10 off Battlefoam voucher and grabbed myself one of the official Infinity bags, the beta one to be exact. Battlefoam have a reputation for being a quality outfit, although you pay for the privilege so getting £10 off was a good deal and meant I got a bigger bag than the KR one I was looking at for a mere £3 more!

I got back home just after 9PM, it was a long day but well worth it. I not only got to spend a day out with my closest friends but got to see some awesomely painted models and terrain. Check out the various new releases from various companies and grab some goodies for myself in the process. Well worth it overall, the only regret I have is not trying those games….. still, there’s always next year.

A Tale (or Tail) of Monsters


I recently purchased one of GW’s latest models for the Tyranid range; the Tervigon/Tyrannofex kit.  I’ve assembled, but not painted the model (see pic) and it will hopefully one day look something like the picture on the right;

The kit is simple enough, and was fairly easy to put together.  I’m glad that GW finally got round to producing the model for Tervigon as it is one of my favourite choices to use in my Tyranid army.  I like it for more than its ability to spawn 3D6 Termagants a turn.  Its ability to enhance all friendly Termagants around it is more useful to me as I tend to use lots of the little critters.  The model itself looks great (as does the Tyrannofex build), although the base could do with being a little larger; it only just fits on the base.  For anybody thinking of putting one together I’d also recommend attaching the egg sac before gluing the legs on, it’s just easier that way.  I don’t know the full details of why it’s taken them so long to release the full range of models for the Tyranids.  They were missing 1/3 of their units until the other month and the addition of the Tervigon/Tyrannofex kit and the new Hive Tyrant/Swarmlord model has gone some way to changing this.  I wish they would get round to releasing the rest of the Tyranid range (especially a Mycetic Spore), though the new winged Hive Tyrant should be easy enough to change into a Harpy.

But that’s the grumbling over with. Over the past 12 months or so I’ve been impressed with the monster kits that GW has been producing for both 40k and Fantasy.  Like many an old gamer I may remember the days when most of the monsters were barely twice the height of a man, now they truly are MONSTERS.

The Tervigon is just one example, but there are many more; the Arachnarok Spider, the Thundertusk/Stonehorn and the Warsphinx/Necrosphinx are just a few.

One of my personal favourites is the Vampire Counts Mortis Engine and to go with the new releases for the Empire a much needed new kit for Emperor Karl Franz which can also be made into a generic Empire General on a Griffon.  What can I say to this other than bravo!  I hope this is a trend  that will continue.  On a slight side note I’m impressed (and I mean really IMPRESSED) at the speed to which they are producing the Warhammer Army books, it was only three months ago that the Vampire Counts were released and now its the Empire’s turn.  At this rate it’ll only be another 18 months before pretty much the entire lot are done.

Hasslefree Miniatures and the Zombie Shoot Out


As is starting to be a regular affair, Wednesday night is gaming night for those of us here at 6 inch.  Last night saw myself, nBreaker, Servitob and a guest appearance from Mrs Servitob around the gaming and enjoying a good table top fight to the death.  For those long time readers you may remember me writing a review of the rules for a zombie apocalypse game called No More Room in Hell [NMRH] by Iron Ivan Games.  It may have taken several months but last night was the first time we’d played it as a group.  Up til this point I’d only managed to have a few play-test games with myself.

So how did the game go?  Well we each had one survivor and started with the basic scenario of all of us in a farm house the first night of the outbreak of zombieness (have I just made up a new word there?).  The game is won by us either boarding up all of the windows & doors on the ground floor or getting to an escape vehicle parked half way to the edge of the board.  The game went a little as follows.  The first turn had a complete absence of zombies as I managed to roll well above the zombie threat level meaning that there was no spawnings, allowing myself, nBreaker and Mrs Servitob to board up several windows whilst Servitob ran for the car.  The next two turns were a little more eventful as the zombies started spawning.  Servitob did some awesome kung-fu actions to take down the undead on his run for victory, I fired multiple shots from by big-ass pistols taking down a couple more, Mrs Servitob had trouble trying to board up the back door with the zombies braking through, but with some help eventually beat them off, whilst nBreaker ran up stairs and started looking for supplies in the rooms.  He managed to find some Kevlar body armour, food and an awesome replica geek sword from a movie with all those elves & dwarves and stuff.  As the hoard kept coming Servitob did the honourable thing, started up the car and proceeded to commit vehicular zombie-slaughter as he rounded the house to the back door allowing all of us to jump in and drive to safety.  The End.

So thoughts on the game.  It was a lot of fun.  Despite me forgetting some stuff and having to look it up, the game ran smoothly.  The game dynamics are simple.  It’s all D10 based and basically to succeed at anything you have a stat and you have to roll equal too or under that value.  Combat is quick with many zombies dropping to the ground in the game.

So Pros for the game:

  1. It’s quick and simple to play, overall it took us about an hour for the whole game.
  2. There is a lot of potential for roll-play and the game lends itself to inspiration and use of initiative very easily.  In many ways it is an RPG.
  3. Although I scrath-built some terrain, it is easy to come across what you need in the typical toy shop (I have many toy cars for future games)
  4. Although you can command groups of survivors together, having only 1 model each results in a very co-operative style of game play.  You don’t have to fight each other in order to win the game, in fact working together is often the best way to win.
  5. The zombies are not player controlled.  They basically move towards the nearest survivor.  This allows for many people to play at once.
  6. You only need a hand full of models for survivors (and about 50 zombies).

Any cons?

  1. The game is a skirmish game and so works well with only a hand full of models, but you still need lots of zombies.
  2. I also feel that once you start adding multiple groups of survivors that the game will get a little too complicated and take a lot longer to play.  And if you like the co-operative nature of the game then this will go once people start having large groups.
  3. Some of the upgrades and rules (such as turning into a zombie after being bitten) are for a campaigns only and have no effect in a one-off game (ok I’m being a little nit-picky here).

All in all though it is a very fun game to play, and if you only use a few models, very quick too.

As for the miniatures, I found a group called Hasslefree Miniatures that produce some nice adventurer models which make ideal survivors of a zombie apocalypse.  Here’s some pictures.
 

 

 

 

 

 

I do love looking at their website and seeing where some of their . . . inspiration comes from.  They do some fantastically characterful miniatures.  I must admit one of my favourites is the Elvis impersonator.

Where Do We Go From Here?


A few days ago I made a post about the much derided business model of the Sherriff and his gang. Following on from that I thought it would be interesting to hypothesise about the future of gaming as well as also take note of the past. Now I am in the fourth decade (think about it) of my life I’d like to think I have enough experience to comment on these kinds of things without being declared a fanboi or whatever is the current term for a detractor towards any of the companies in my hobby. I mean, I even managed to find a completely related image to start the post with, I was going to go with a simple question mark but then I found a dice with question marks on… my google-fu is strong today!

Anyway, I mentioned before that I started out with Games Workshop and I imagine that this may well ring true today as the high street presence of GW is superior to a local games store that has a more diverse range. When I started the hobby the competition was nearly non-existent and GW certainly had a much better product than anything else I came across. Pen and Paper RPGs were de rigueur and anything else was Magic: The Gathering. At least, that is how it was perceived through the eyes of a 12-year-old when I started looking around.

I personally got started with second edition 40k and have fond memories of the truly disgustingly unbalanced armies my teenage brain came up with. Despite friends falling by the wayside as we grew up I still kept going with my hobby and the ever-increasing expenditure required to keep it up. It wasn’t really until the early part of the 21st century that I really started to see viable alternatives show up on my radar. I saw Warmachine and was bowled over, they had some really nice models that were totally different to anything I’d encountered through Games Workshop and you could get a box of metal troops for like £12-14, the same as a basic 10 man plastic set from the Sherriff. While never bringing it to my play group I’d also gotten some pieces for Confrontation. Rackham produced some of the finest (literally and figuratively) metal models that I have EVER come across.

It was these that really began to open my eyes to the increasing level of competition to Games Workshop. By the time this was happening GW had changed from the company I had known in my youth. Gone were the sales and offers in White Dwarf, the magazine itself having gone downhill in quality over the years too. There were online stores that offered all kinds of things I’d never seen nor heard of and with these new games I only needed a handful of models to play. Confrontation minis came with a small rulebook in the blister allowing you to play without purchasing a rulebook, same with Warmachine, the basic rules were included in the starter sets. I don’t think GW could ever do this considering the length and complexity of some of their rules. I know of some games that have more complex rules but condense them into much smaller books than GW puts out and they are often much clearer, even when translated out of the non-English language they start out in.

However, the new market of competition has not been without its winners and losers, nor has it been static. While I think GW has struggled with this competition (something it has not been used to in the past considering its dominant market position) in the past few years we’ve seen a marked improvement in the quality of what has been released I feel. Unfortunately they still seem committed to their rather draconian price increases. You have to commend GW because even in the face of this they are still going strong while others have fallen. I speak of course of Rackham, the French company that was at one point going strong with Confrontation. They had amazing minis, I still have a few of them lying around. The version 3 rule set was interesting even with the dodgy translation to English and considering the updates they made for 3.5. However, the company scrapped the line and decided to go pre-painted (that’s a very short version of a whole host of events that could make a post on its own) and people voted with their wallets. Late last year the company finally ceased to be and we lost what could have been something much greater.

Privateer Press have done well with Warmachine and Hordes, however, they are not without issue themselves. Even with the new Mk2 platform Warmachine is not as cheap to get into as it used to be. Sure you don’t need to pick up the large number of books there were for Mk1 but PP have raised their prices too and come of the newer kits really are pricey. While GW will charge you £25 for 10 plastic models in some cases you can get 10 much chunkier metals from PP for a fiver more. I know that the denizens of the floating citadel love their plastics but I know of many that favour the solidity of cold, hard alloy.

Both games that I have mentioned however are also very different to Games Workshop, they are more skirmish games than army games, although with large-scale Warmachine games you do need a lot of figures and I know that Rackham had Ragnarok when Conf 3 was out, and that would cost you more than a GW army to build too. However, predominantly you’d need very few models to play. Over the years there are a vast array of skirmish games that have come to the market, some have kept going while others have failed, each trying to carve a niche in a pretty saturated marketplace. We’ve got games that work off dice and those that try to innovate through card decks or other more abstract systems.

We’ve even got a company made of ex-GW employees trying to do an army size game (there are others out there besides Mantic I know). What I see these days is that the juggernaut that is GW keeps rolling, like that big wheeled thing at the start of the second Transformers movie;

Many of the newer games seem like those NEST dudes or the other Auto-bots trying to take it down and grab some glory for themselves. I don’t think we’ve yet seen any company being the metaphorical Optimus Prime that’s going to be the final nail in the coffin of GW though. Obviously as long as there are players willing to spend money our games will continue to evolve. There are such a great set of options out there for anyone starting the hobby, GW are doing people a favour on one hand by getting people into the hobby and I like educating people about cheaper alternatives. I don’t think we will see a dominance of army games against skirmish games, nor vice versa, after all it’s the pricing point that becomes the important part of those equations.

For years the competition has been these skirmish style games, fewer miniatures but of a really high quality. An army game won’t match this in my opinion considering how many more models you generally need. But people also like those big sweeping battles and I see more new releases in this genre now we have so many skirmish games.

I don’t know if the market is going to go one way or the other. I know that personally I’m in favour of the skirmish offerings, especially now I am in the position of being really careful with my cashflow. A figure here and there is all I need to expand rather than having to boost or buy new regiments completely. Will GW survive with so many other snapping at their heels? The recent financials show increased profits against reduced sales, I reckon the way they have treated their customers will come back to haunt them at some point. You can only turn the screw so much on people and the screws are currently coming from a lot of directions for many.

How do you see the market developing? Is there something you see that I’ve missed? Are GW doomed and on a slow decline into real trouble? Is there a potential heir to the Sherriff’s thrown?

Glorfindel; Lord of the West


After last weeks gaming I wanted to post a few pictures of my finished Glorfindel model, however I have recently been suffering from the attentions of Nurgle and had bearly left my bed for two days.  On Monday I was considering which one of my friends would get to pay off their mortgage after inheriting my Tyranid army.  But the sickness has passed and now here are some pictures.

40k Tyranid Tyrannofex


“What’s this?” you say “A second post from Gribblin in the same day?”  Yep it’s true.  After doing the Tervigon I have worked on some of the other new monsters in the Tyranid codex.  This time it’s the Tyrannofex.

I got my inspiration for the Tyrannofex from the graphic that was in the codex (well it seemed logical).  The model is mainly made up of pieces from two plastic kits; the Trygon and the Carnifex.  I also used some plasticard, green stuff and pieces from my bits box.

The main body is the Trygon’s.  The armoured shell around it is made of pieces of plasticard and green stuff stuck to the back of the Trygon torax.  The legs are from the Carnifex, as is the head.  The claws, gun and tail are a mix of things from the bits box.

“But what about the rest of the stuff in those plastic kits? There must be a lot left over.”  Well yes and no.  Some of it I used to make my Harpy, which will be the feature of another post.  I have made it, just not finished painting it yet.  I hope that this model has given some people out there some inspiration for when they come to making their own Tyrannofex.

Bugs! – Now With Extra Cheese


Dropping through my virtual mailbox this morning was a preview of the new Tyranid stuff for 40k. Now, as much as we all love Gribblin this is his No 1 40k force. It is one of the most evil armies in 40k by my reckoning and no doubt the new Codex makes them even scarier, find details of the new releases below. I’m sure the fact that his current force can reroll only half its dice will now be rectified, he’ll be rerolling everything and ignoring all the core rules in the Big Grey Book!

Time to load up on more Boyz I think “Oi Mekboy, make me sum mo’ scraggin’ Klaws! Me ladz be needin’ sum extra hitty stuff.”

Codex: Tyranids The Tyranids are the ultimate predators. Engineered at a cellular level for combat, they seek to consume the galaxy. Read all about the history of the Tyranids and learn about their frightful bio-weaponry in the new Codex: Tyranids.

Ravener BroodRaveners are for the first time available as a multi-part plastic kit that includes a host of weapon and assembly options. Now’s the time to overwhelm your foe with a brood of these fast moving warrior beasts.

Trygon/MawlocThese all-new Tyranid monsters tower above the Hive Tyrant and Carnifex, and are some of the largest models we’ve ever produced. Add these lethal creatures and their potent special rules to your Tyranid force.

How Do You Eat Yours?


Rather than being a discussion of one of the best chocolate products invented by the hand of man today’s topic is going to be about how you plan and build your armies. There are a number of different ways in which this can be accomplished and I’ve actually been through a couple of ways myself, although I have one method that, while not the best perhaps, seems to always come out on top when I get that buzz of “ZOMG, new models, must have!!!!11!!!!!!one!!!!!”

I’ll split the various ways out and then expound on them, please feel free to comment on which is your preferred method or add something totally different.

 

The Core Method

This method revolves around the fact that most games have a set amount of stuff that must be included to field a minimum sized force. Games like 40k make this easy as you can pick an HQ unit and two Troops choices for a viable army, to play with though you’ll need an agreed points value, this is where I like Privateer Press’ products as you can get starter boxes which give forces balanced to play each other in order for people to learn the rules. Uncharted Seas and the new Firestorm Armada also work off this premise with their starter boxes.

We kind of hybridised this method when starting 5th edition 40k. We knew we wanted to play 1000pts games, I’d sold all my 40k stuff to get something a bit different and therefore started my Orks at that points level, I could then see what I lacked and adapt accordingly (more boyz!). This is in fact one of the core benefits of doing things like this. You can play your force and see what is lacking which can guide future purchases when you expand your army,  my 1500pts force therefore fills practically every troops slot available and after playing it I’ve further modified the list to make the Boyz squads fewer but bigger. They butcher stuff in close combat even with only a few of them but they tend to take horrific casualties as they cross the plains to reach their foes. Bumping them up in size means there are more ablative wounds hopefully meaning that more boyz can get stuck in later on. I do realise though that with making the squads larger that there are therefore less squads which means less targets for the enemy to worry about. Hopefully the covering fire of the Lootas still provides a distraction as well as Big Mek “Mr Suicide” who has yet to build a Shokk Attack Gun that lasts more than one shot.

Starting small also means that you aren’t laying down a lot of cash straight away. Obviously if you are starting out with something for the first time you’re going to be guided by what you like the look of, not necessarily knowing how it will play. You may like it, you may not so spending as little as possible is a potential benefit.

 

The Proxy Method

This has happened with a number of the lists I have produced for my Daemons in Fantasy. If you already have some models then this can work out but you’ll want to have your opponents consent and make sure he knows what is what. Proxying (for the uninitiated) is the process whereby you use a model you have to represent something else. I’ve not done this for an entire army as I believe that would get very difficult for your opponent to deal with, but I have expanded units beyond the model count I own or used single stand in models before spending money on proper representations. This has the advantage that you don’t go out and spend money on something before you know if it does what you want or work in the way you expect.

 

The ZombiePirate Method

Here we go, the method by which I generally do things. With most people when they first look at getting anything the first place that is started is with the ruleset for that particular army. This works across all systems as if you get a rulebook with all the forces in them or you have to pick up individual army books you’re going to be looking through them working out what you like the look of. The start of this method can work with other methods already described, what I do is have a nice read through the book, I looks at the units and their physical stats as well as stuff that I like the look of models wise. I will choose not to collect an army if their models luck bad, no matter how awesome the rules might be and so I take my picks and write-up a list for the normal game size, 1500pts 40k, 2000pts Warhammer Fantasy, 25ss Malifaux, 35 or 50pts Warmachine/Hordes etc… For the majority of these times what I will then do is make a purchase of the entire army, maybe in stages but sometimes in one huge bank busting blaze of debit card. Now, obviously depending on the army you’ve chosen this particular method can do more or less damage to your wallet. This also means you are laying down a whole wad of greenbacks on a force that has not yet seen action so you’re not sure about how it is going to perform, this is the chief downside of doing things this way, however, there is also another drawback that is almost at the same scale.

When you’ve bought everything you need in one batch you have an entire army arrayed before you, this can cause morale issues as you are presented with just how much stuff you’re going to need to build/paint. In days of yore I’ve assembled whole armies and left them on my painting table showing me in no uncertain terms just how much work I have left if I want to do it all. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons why I never get stuff done, after seeing it all I chop and change from one thing to another. My current project is not done in this manner, I am doing things one at a time and leaving my table clear in order to do so, nothing else is cluttering it up (bar a Lord of Change and the aforementioned Big Mek “Orky McSuicide”). I am hoping that by having a more structured approach to things I stand a better chance of getting things finished. I’m looking forward to this weekend and setting myself the challenge of getting some figures actually done, I am away in London on Saturday so this may not be achievable but I’m going to give it a shot to push myself.

Time and time again I’ve fallen back on this method, written out an army list and then gone out and bought more and more stuff so that I have it all. I don’t know why I do this but I know that getting things piecemeal can actually be more beneficial (method 1 in the list here).My preferred method is probably the worst one but I’m sure each gamer has their own style and works in their own way, so don’t let anything here prevent you from doing what you want.

 

So then Intarwebz, when creating your ideal army, how do you eat yours?

Getting Excited by a New Project


As has been mentioned on these boards before I am an extremely slow painter. Not only that but I am beset by a fickleness that is well documented in my MMO playing. No matter what game I play I am normally accompanied by a horde of alts. I have already described the pernicious disease that is New Army Syndrome and therefore you can imagine how my normal whimsy can sometimes mutate into “super-whimsy”(TM). Now, my purpose today is not to talk about my many and varied idiosyncrasies nor my inherent psychological instability but more of a time when cosmic forces align to somehow influence us beyond our normal ken.

Over the past few days I am feeling something that I don’t think I have felt in quite a long time. I actually do quite enjoy painting and sometimes hold myself back from doing it more often, hence the consternation of my venerable gaming brethren who are often heard to lament the fact that nothing I have is actually fully painted. However, I believe that sometimes these things are down to motivation and if you do things right, well, in my case it may be that miracles can happen. I haven’t had a fully painted army since I was in my teenage years and that’s quite a time ago now, obviously this needs rectifying. I have finally come up with a project that is enthusing me. I have plans, actual proper plans for getting things done, I have an army list that I am super excited and happy about. I believe that I know what I am doing and for the first time in as long as I can remember I want to throw down this army on the tabletop as 100% painted! A tall order no doubt considering my notoriously slow style. This is going to happen and I reckon it’s also going to look half decent. I refer you back a couple sentences to where I refer to that fact that I have PLANS!!! Yes, plans! As a part of this I need to further motivate myself so that I do not just let things flag, this army list is not going to drop down until I have painted it, hence a second level of motivation here so, I can publically declare that I will not play a proper game of Warhammer Fantasy until I have put the finishing touches to this army. I am a grown man, it’s time that I did actually have something like this to be proud of and I reckon I finally have the excitement and drive to do it.

No doubt the people in my playing circle will also be super excited to see this. Gribblin might feel annoyed that he is robbed of his regular opponent but with nBreaker and another addition to our circle I can try to lend my talents to teaching them the game while I see them enjoying themselves and thus driving my desire to play even more and increasing the chances I have of being forced to complete my pledge. I reckon that this is the only way I have of getting something full painted. I need to do it. I can still partake of Uncharted Seas and I plan too, but the fun we’ve recently been having with Warhammer I don’t want to miss out on and I am going to do this. Motivating myself in this fashion coupled with the fact that I am actually excited about this list I hope that things combine into a successful implementation.

So Interwebz, have you ever been in the same boat as this? Do you often find yourself fighting the drudgery and need something fresh to inspire you? Or are you all top-notch people who paint everything as soon as you have it and get it on the table?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments section, which might be easier.)