Tag Archives: Miniatures

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.

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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.)

 

Games Day Miniature 2010 Revealed


Games Workshop have released details of this year’s Games Day miniature. This is a “freebie” they throw in with your tickets, although as the tickets cost £4billion each I hardly class it as free. These things normally end up on eBay with someone asking way over the odds for them. Personally I’ve never been to the GW ultimate geek-day as it clashes with other things, but, here we have a pic of the 2010 Games Day Chaos Sorceror for your viewing pleasure. I think it’s quite good.

 

Slow News Day


In what may be classed a “slow news day”, or, “I have things to post but don’t have the time to do it at the moment” er… day I thought I’d just make a quick note that people probably already know all about. Current 6 Inch Move favourite Uncharted Seas has a new cousin. Spartan Games have released information about their latest release, the futuristic Firestorm Armada. As I haven’t seen the core rules I’ll hold back from calling this Uncharted Seas in space, yet I can imagine that there are probably going to be a lot of similarities between the game as the rules set for the naval battles we are using are pretty solid.

There are a decent number of races to play and they will be releasing each in a starter box as per US, keep an eye on their website as they will be updating it with piccies and information regarding the new game. I know that some people have been waiting with bated breath for this to finally hit the shelves. Even with the love for US that we have in our gaming circles at the moment I don’t think we’ll be seeing this added to our list of games, we’ve really got enough on our plates before throwing in extra things.

In other new, Wyrd, the company behind global phenomenon Malifaux have updated their website, not to the pleasing of some of their customers judging by threads on their forums. Check it out if you want though, it’s certainly different to the way it was before.

Tutorials in Gaming – Glue


Hopefully the “Conventions in Gaming” posts have provided some insight and maybe even a new perspective into just why it is we take for granted certain aspects of our hobby (I’ll admit the Army List one was a little ropey). In order to break from that series and hopefully provide something a little fresh and new I thought I’d kick off a series regarding the more basic aspects of our hobby. Lots of places discuss the hobby but some people really would like a tutorial on how to go about doing certain things, hence this will be the first in a series of How-to articles that will hopefully educate. Any feedback is of course gladly received, we are all still learning after all.

To break the ice I want to take a look at a few fundamentals first, today’s post therefore will be looking very much into one of the first tools you’ll need to use when venturing into the miniatures gaming hobby. Glue.

Now, I could start with taking a model and cleaning it up ready for assembly, but for some reason I feel like I want to discuss this item first before going on to cleaning models and the tools you use there. So, it’s my blog and I’ll blog what I want to, sit down, pull up a chair and get ready for some sticky action.

Sticking Points

You might think that glue is rather mundane and certainly not worth dedicating an entire blog post too, well, in my book you’d be wrong. Things aren’t just as simple as picking up a pot of whatever is lying around and trying to bodge things together (try sticking together a Chaos Greater Daemon with a tube of Pritt-Stik.) There are many more options than you may even have heard about. So, we’ll discuss each one of these and then go onto some other options that you might not even know exist. We’ll discuss strengths and weaknesses but none of this should really be new to you unless you’re just starting out.

Polystyrene Cement

Polycement

Strengths: Cheap, strong bond

Weaknesses: Messy, bulky, difficult to apply

Use on: Plastics

So, our first star is the favourite of anyone that has ever bought, or been bought, an Airfix kit. If you’ve built a model aeroplane then chances are you’ve come across this stuff. Also, if you’re anything like me you’ll find that it is evil incarnate. You’ll really only be able to glue plastics with it as it literally melts the plastic together to form a bond, normally you apply it to both sides of whatever you are glueing and then press them together. There is one problem with using this glue to do that however. Have you ever been about to brush your teeth of an evening and had some kind of unnatural hand spasm that has caused you to apply a little too much pressure to the tube of toothpaste? Only to watch with horror as you catch the far edge of the toothbrush but coat your significant other’s favourite rose-scented, fifty quid a throw, made from seal cubs, moistourising soap and half of the bathroom tiles with a line of red, white and blue Aquafresh? I think we’ve all been there. Imagine doing that with a product that works by heating up the plastic to melt a bond… You can see where I am going with this, it’s not pretty and even when great care is taken the application from the tube is that imprecise that you normally end up with massive glue strings conspiring to form some kind of elaborate spiders web between the model parts, the nozzle on the glue and various parts of your body. You could squeeze some out onto a tooth pick and use that as an applicator but that’s still not a great way of doing things when there is a better way.

Polystyrene Cement gets a ZombiePirate rating of  1 out of 5 Harpoons.

 

Liquid Polystyrene Cement

liquidpoly

Strengths: Cheap, Accurate in application, forms strong bond

Weaknesses: Glue can dry in applicator, liquid can run to undesired parts of model

Use on: Plastics

First of all I have to declare a bias. I love this stuff. If you have any plastic models to build this is my go-to glue of choice. While the normal Poly Cement is like a gel, Liquid Poly is exactly how it sounds, it’s the same glue but in a liquid which makes it a lot easier to control and the packaging doesn’t really allow for many unwanted glue ejaculation model wreckers. All my plastic models over the past almost 20 years have been put together using this. I tend to not bother putting a dab on each side of the bond, one small blob on a piece and press it to where it joins and within seconds you’ve got a strong bond that is pretty unbreakable. In many cases the plastic itself on a point of stress with give way before you can break the bond the glue has formed, it’s solid stuff. One thing worth mentioning though is that if you do put too much on, with it being a liquid it will run off when you press a piece together, this can actually leave you with glue blobs outside the join.

I actually use the exact stuff shown in the picture, it has a long metal tube used as an applicator to deliver the glue, because this is stored upright and you may have the top off for extended periods while building a unit or vehicle there is a tendency on occasion for the glue to dry in the top of the tube. This can be a pig to clear and is probably the only bad point that I can raise about this stuff. You might also want to use a well-ventilated area as with it melting the plastic you get some fumes given off. You may of course be into that kind of thing but we can’t condone it here, especially as fumes from plastic are toxic, so if you sniff a Space Marine’s armpit after gluing his arm on and you end up dead, don’t come knocking on my door complaining. I’ve seen enough movies/played enough games to know how to deal with Zombies!

Liquid Polystyrene Cements gets a ZombiePirate rating of 4 out of 5 Harpoons.

 

Superglue

super-glue

Strengths: Will (literally) glue anything, easily available at most stores

Weaknesses: Will (literally) glue anything

Use on: Metals, Resins, Plastics

If you can’t get anything else than Superglue will of course suffice. The various Polys are designed for plastic to plastic, but for plastic to metal and anything else to anything else, you will use nothing else. Superglue is freely available from many places and may therefore be the easiest to get eager fingers on and you can guarantee it will stick what you want stuck, however, dealing with metal models is vastly different to plastic. Whereby the two glues previously discussed will bond the plastic to itself by melting the plastic together superglue is just a medium that will bond one piece to another. This means that overall you are getting a more brittle joint, there are various methods that you can use to strengthen this, I’ll cover those a little later. Another thing to mention is what I have already put in the Strengths/Weaknesses above, superglue is strong stuff, you’ve maybe seen the scene in American Pie 2, yeah, this stuff can be nasty. It has been used in field dressings in combat theatres (be careful with it though, it contains cyanide) so you will at some point glue fingers together, various parts of models to various parts of your body/the cat etc…

The good thing about this glue is that with a reasonable amount of time soaking in hot water the glue tends to lose its bond and makes things easier to pry open. Superglue is normally a liquid but I have recently come across Loctite Gel and have to say that I’m quite impressed with it. The gel (unlike Poly Cement) is easy to apply and doesn’t run everywhere like a liquid can, I’ve been using it to good effect on the last few items I’ve built and the bond seems nice and strong too, so you might want to try that out as well.

To state the obvious metal models are heavier than plastic ones and superglue takes longer to cure than the Polys. You’ll tend to find that some particularly heavy pieces (such as wings) or anything that has a small surface area to bond too can take a long time to actually set in place. A search around the internet will not take long to find models that people have had a nightmare trying to put together for some, or all, of these reasons. As I said before though, there are a number of tips that can help with your gluing.

With metals one of the best things that you can do is to score the areas to be glued. This is as easy as taking a modelling knife and making a cross hatch pattern (kinda like #) over the area to be glued. This actually marks the metal and provides more surface area for the glue to bond too, thus getting a stronger bond. You can also pin a joint, although this is a topic that could go into a topic of its own so I won’t say too much about it now.

The other things you can do is to buy something called Accelerator. This is a liquid product that causes the glue to cure much faster meaning you are not sitting there for ages waiting for the stuff to go off. I have never used it so cannot offer any opinion of my own on it. Just be careful though as it’s pretty easy to glue yourself to a model anyway without making it stick faster.

Superglue gets a ZombiePirate rating of 5 out of 5 Harpoons.

 

So, there you have it, a run down on the most common options for sticking your loot together. If you can only go for one then it’s going to be the superglue obviously, however, if you have a large amount of plastic I really do recommend getting some Liquid Poly it’s much better suited to this task than superglue. I look forward to getting into the next topic of just what to do with your bare metal/plastic before you go around slapping the glue on and putting it in an awesome action pose.

Conventions in Gaming – Army Lists


This post has been blowing around in my head for a while. I’ve known that I wanted to continue through the various aspects of tabletop gaming under the “Conventions in Gaming” moniker as I believe that we can gain valuable insight into the things we take for granted and look at ways to make our games more interesting or perhaps just to see something in a new light. However, the structure to this post has eluded me for the past couple weeks so we’ll see how this goes.

I am sure we have all been there, pad of paper, calculator, rulebook/army book spread out over the table crunching numbers to try and come up with a list that is full of synergy as well as butt-whoopin’ awesomeness. Assigning costs to models has long been an established way of making sure that a fight can be “balanced.” I am using quote marks there because of the general cries that go up around the Internet when something new comes out that means that you can come up with an unstoppable force that seems way too powerful against a normally balanced all-comers force. Yes, I do play Chaos Daemons and no I have not taken an all Tzeentch army or Skulltaker. Army lists provide a way for us to develop forces and in many ways will determine the purchases we make as there are a number of factors that can influence how we build our armies.

For instance, some people will start off picking armies through the models that they like. We’ve all been there, a company comes out with a model that is 17 kinds of awesome, we have to have it, yet, when the rules are read, or it is put onto the battlefield it stinks the place up. Others will pore over the stats and rules for an army and try to squeeze those models into a list of the appropriate value. Some people may even take a mix of both methods. Different companies also release to us the means by which we can mould our forces in differing ways. For instance, Games Workshop has gone down the route of releasing a main rulesbook and then you have to buy a separate Army Book to be able to use your force in the game. Privateer Press when Warmachine and Hordes came out released all the information for their models in the rulebook itself, you didn’t have to buy another book to build a force to put on the table, they then released expansions to the main rules that added in new ones but also released new units for each faction. With the development of Mk 2 they are actually bringing out rulebooks a la GW but after that initial release it’ll be back to the original format of new releases being covered in expansion books. Uncharted Seas and Malifaux both contain all the details for their respective forces within the main rulebook. I’ll give a shout out to Spartan Games (makers of Uncharted Seas) here because the new fleets and rules they release for free on their website. Kudos to them for making things available so readily.

There are alternatives to the pen and paper approach, there are various pieces of software you can download to make the process easier. Wolf’s Lair’s Army Builder is a decent program (you have to pay for it) that allows you to create army lists for loads of games and there is an active community that creates the files that allow you to build the armies for certain games. Then there are things like Armies of Immoren for the Iron Kingdoms worlds, it’s a free download that makes army building a little easier, I even have iBodger on my iPhone which allows me to make Warmachine lists wherever I am. I know there are people with Excel spreadsheets that they have set up for the express purpose of creating lists to play with.

Now, speaking more specifically about what happens with GW books there is a common misconception out there. With 40K or Warhammer there are established points limits that are the “ideal” game size, 1500pts for 40K and 2000pts for Warhammer. Yet, although the armies are supposedly balanced around that points values there is no way to perform a direct comparison between the value of a model in one force and that in another. For example, in the Warriors of Chaos book the standard Marauder is 4pts and is a bargain. I have heard complaints from Bretonnian players that their Man-at-Arms costs more than this for a much worse profile. While both are rank and file infantry they are different in terms of how they fit into the armies, Marauders are a lot more offensive than Men-at-Arms and once both armies are fully arrayed things should be balanced, but comparing points costs from one unit to another in a different army cannot be done, the points values are the cost to the army that they are for and are not meant to be taken in any way as a broad comparison of the value of that troop type. This is one of my pet peeves with GW stuff, when a new army book comes out people inevitably look at something and declare it to be undercosted because “I have to pay X for X.” It’s not a good argument.

There are also different ways of costing things. GW and Privateer use Points costs whereas Malifaux uses Soulstones and this offers a slightly different mechanic into the game. Working with points generally means you have a limit that you cannot go over. Personally I have spent much time trying to squeeze something into those last few points or having to make hard decisions about what to axe to fit into the agreed limit. With Malifaux you have a set number of soulstones to spend on recruiting your crew, any unspent stones go into your pool and allow you to Cheat Fate during the game, which I quite like, it gives you a small bonus in some ways if you do find yourself with something left over.

So, what is the point of this whole post? Well I suppose it is to try and get your thoughts about how you go about preparing a force for the tabletop. I know for our Uncharted Seas games at the minute we are just using the starter boxes however, we each actually have a second starter box each (hence my rolling out of a Broadside Reaper in our last game) that we can use to expand our fleets which will mean we start working to points limits rather than arbitrary collections. In the real world of course there are no careful balancing of forces and history is replete with heroic stands made by vastly outnumbered forces. However, there is nothing stopping us from actually creating our own battles based on these ideas. Just because we do actually have an army list doesn’t mean we can’t throw it away from time to time and just have a game purely for the fun of it. It can provide an interesting diversion to your usual scheduled games.

While we do rely on these things for the majority of the games we play, cutting ourselves loose may help to reinvigorate an otherwise stale gaming environment. I believe this is why things like Apocalypse have become so popular. As I said at the beginning I have struggled with this post for a couple weeks, knowing I wanted to discuss army lists but without knowing where it would take us. I hope this post has been of some benefit other than me pumping out 1300 words of nonsense.

Who knows what I’ll come out with next time?