Tuesday 26 August 2014

Another painting update...

Just to prove I haven't been dawdling reading the Space Wolf codex and associated reviews... here's some more Inquisition Warband fun.

It's supposed to represent a unit of Henchmen - one with bolter/storm bolter (obviously) the other three with 2x CCW. 

The funny thing is that I have had that Bounty Hunter model since it was released for Necromunda somewhere between 1995 and 1997. Somewhere along the line I have lost the original backpack so have used a spare Catachan "Arnie" Colonel model's one. 18 years to get painted? Wow.

Have I mentioned that I am loving the new Citadel Paint range? Yes I am still getting to grips with all the copyrighted names and their predecessors, but I will get there eventually....

Now the question is do I finish off my Adepta Sororitas Command squad next, or a squad of Kasrkin/Tempestus Scions?

Sunday 24 August 2014

And while we're talking about Space Wolves... let's talk novels...

One of the key things that grabbed me back in the dim dark past was the background of the Space Wolves, as told in this...

One of the key things that gets me inspired about an army is the background, and if it is accompanied by some great skald work (in the form of short stories, novellas, or novels themselves) then all the better.

Unfortunately I don't really think the Space Wolves have had a good run of things in this department.

I've read all the Space Wolf novels by William King up to WolfBlade. Bill writes a great novel...

... if you like Gotrek and Felix... 

...but his take on the Sons of Russ for me is underwhelming. The characters themselves felt very one dimensional, and the chapters always ended the same way (i.e. "Ragnar felt confused/angry, whatever would he do next????? Who could he trust????? Dum dum duuuuuuuummmmmm")

I have not read the two remaining novels in the series, both by Lee Lightner, so can't comment on them. I'm worried it's one of Bill's nom de plumes. 

As for the novels Blood of Asaheim, Stormcaller, as well as the short story Onyx by Chris Wraight, the only bit that was really any good (in my opinion) was when the original Wolf Guard Hjortjur was getting chased down and murdered by Inquisition agents in the prologue. The worst bit? A heavy bolter in a Grey Hunters squad. WHERE IS THE EDITOR?? Does Chris not use conversations with Games Developers (or maybe not... "Hey man, write about the Space Wolves you want to read about") or even the content of the actual codexes as a bit of a clue?? (as a side note, I have been wanting a heavy bolter in my Grey Hunters packs for ages). But seriously, no. Just no.

I was particularly disappointed about these novels especially after reading Battle for the Fang (which Chris Wraight also wrote), which I thought was pretty damn good at evoking the majesty of the Aett.

*edit* Wolves of Fenris is also pretty good, particularly Kraken but avoid Wulfen... 

Deathwolf audio drama was ... ok. Can't say I have really got into the BL audiobooks. The characterisations (across all the books) are a bit repetitive and I'd rather read the words and imagine how they might sound by myself to be honest... 

The Lone Wolves graphic novel is worth a read (Dan Abnett, yay!) even just for the artwork. And the whole Vlka Fenryka thing.

Then you have the Horus Heresy novels A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeil and Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett. These really changed the game about how people looked at the Space Wolves I think. They added a much darker, more calculatingly violent, and downright vicious streak that was not there before. And leather. And bones. And repressed violence. And nasti... ok I'll stop.

Keeping with the HH series, the cameo from the Space Wolves pack in The Unremembered Empire (also Dan Abnett) was hilariously good. The interchange between Roboute and the pack, as well as when the Lion arrives, was a bit of novel gold. I may even have LoL'd at the latter bit. And they were not scared about facing off with the Night Haunter either... I particularly enjoyed that scene. 

So which Space Wolf novel do I think is the best? It's not even a Space Wolf novel - it would have to be, hands down, Aaron Dembski-Bowden's The Emperor's Gift. Logan Grimnar with his Wolf Guard on the Grey Knight Battle barge... fantastic. The space battle above the Fang? Overwhelmingly good. 

If there is one thing I'd want for Christmas is for ADB to give the Space Wolves the same trilogy love he gave the Night Lords. Damn that man can write so evocatively.

And maybe he can do a Prince of Crows treatment to one of the minor Wolf Lords... 

I'm all inspired to go read The Emperor's Gift again, for the third time in the last 12 months...  and of course I need to build an Inquisitor and retinue based loosely on Annika Jarlsdottyr... this madness never ends.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Vlka... Fenryka?

Back in the day, I played a lot using my Space Wolf army. Pretty exclusively for nearly 3 editions of the game.

Here's a photo of the old Wolf Lord himself, Haakon Ironwolf

Ahhh.... good times.

Anyway - I've had a chance to read the intarwebz and the new codex now, and I think I am liking this one the most since the one before the one last (3rd Ed just in case I missed a version).

The thing I really like about the Wolves is their individuality. I am particularly attracted to the army personality  and yes they have been/are a powerful choice of army (the internet says so), and there are those people who take units/combos because they are effective (and you know, they should be listened to and then you take on board what works for you), but you know... I'm going to take what I want to take and figure it out myself. 

What I have got planned (because I like to have choice)
Wolf Lord on foot and on Thunderwolf
Wolf Guard Battle Leader on foot and on Thunderwolf
Njal in terminator armour
Njal/Rune Priest in power armour
Rune Priest in power armour
Wolf Priest in power armour (Ulrik, sorry not sure why you wouldn't take him...)
Iron Priest on foot and on Thunderwolf
6 Wolf Scouts incl WGBL
6 Wolf Scouts with sniper rifle
10 Wolf Guard in terminator armour
6 Wolf Guard bikes
2 Lone Wolves
10 Grey Hunters 
10 Grey Hunters
8 Grey Hunters
8 Grey Hunters
6 Grey Hunters
14 Blood Claws
10 Blood Claws
8 Blood Claws
2 Stormwolf (or Stormfang, there are pluses for each)
3 Long Fangs
LAnd Raider Crusader
4 Rhinos
2 Razorbacks
3 Drop Pods
12-18 Thunderwolves...
Some Fenrisian Wolves
... and I should do some Dreadnoughts. I still have 3 or 4 of the old lead ones...

Goodness that is a lot of models. Why do I do this to myself????

My intention is to paint them grey as opposed to the powder blue, using zenithal highlighting techniques. I'll also be taking my time as I want them all to look at bit... you know... feral. Like they are described in the HH novels. 

Am yet to do a test paint figure since they are so far down the painting list but I have been collecting and converting the odd figure over the years since I sold my SW armies...

I need to find someone that can make me some Ironwolf shoulder pad designs, plus I am going to need lots of the old Wolf Scout backpacks. Plus I am making up some olde skool Long Fang legs specially for this...

Maybe I'll have it done in time for the next codex! 

Tuesday 19 August 2014

My visit to GWHQ Nottingham

After years and years of reading White Dwarf, reading tournament reports, looking at painting websites, talking to friends who had been.... I had entertained thoughts about going to GWHQ in Nottingham, but that has always been a bit of a pipe dream. 

However, in June I went to England (for the first time ever) on family business, and took the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Nottingham.

After previous email communications with Nick Bayton at Warhammer World about which weekday was best to visit (answer - Wednesday, where they are open until 10pm...) I arrived in Nottingham from Sheppey about lunchtime.

Once I had checked into the B&B I pretty much jogged the 10 minutes to GW. Once I got there and made my way past the ground level, that had....
Rhino out front

Hello Mr Space Marine!


The World Eaters storming the breach - Istvaan IV

... and made my way upstairs to Level 2. This is where the shop, the hall, and Bugmans Bar are.

One of the cool things they had at the landing was a display of a "history of Citadel miniatures", including all the Mike McVey dioramas that were displayed in White Dwarf. Pretty cool. So cool I failed to take many if any photos... idiot.

After oogling these for a while, I pushed through the double door to the hall, and (manfully) uttered the same single word Jeff Kent did when he saw the latest Dark Elf army book...


View of hall from shop towards Bugmans

View of hall from Bugmans

So, roughly, there are 80 tables all set to go, plus several Apocalypse sized tables and special ones like the Zone Mortalis table and the LotR Goblintown (both of which I watched GW Design Studio employees playing Kill Team on).

Here's a selection of tables (which you could just turn up and play on if they weren't booked by other players). Note that you can play on any table as they all have terrain, and drink pints while you are at it. Sounds terrible? It is.... not.

After the overwhelming awesomeness that was the hall, I popped upstairs to have a look at the Hall of Miniatures. Here's a selection of shots of the cabinets. Apologies for the quality, the lighting is designed for looking at the minis with your eyes, not for taking photos.

I took a photo of pretty much every cabinet, and there were at least 27, plus some other ones in the middle of the room with GW employee models and the big Space Wolf vs Tyranid diorama. Absolutely amazing stuff.

This is the visit that resparked my desire to get back into the hobby to which I am very grateful. 

To all those who are thinking of going, DO IT. To those who are visiting the UK, make sure a day at Warhammer World is in your itinerary.

And all I can say to those that live locally and have conversations that start:
"Hey, you want to go down to GW tonight for a pint, meal, and a couple of games?"

You lucky lucky bastard!

Monday 18 August 2014

Short painting update

Here are a couple of models I finished over the weekend...

First up - my 'counts as' Uriah Jacobus for my Sisters of B.... Adepta Sororitas.

Meet my little friend...

Jeez this is heavy

Repent, unbelievers!

She is made up of:
Mordheim Sisters of Sigmar Matriarch
OOP metal Space Wolf assault cannon
OOP metal Blood Angel Honour Guard banner

She started life as just a normal 'priest' (was 40k'd up and armed with a CCW and power weapon) for my Repentia, but I needed something that would suit my vision for a female Jacobus... a bit of chopping and green stuffing later and here we go.

Text on the banner is done with artists pens, goodness it would have taken me forever to do with a brush(!!). Might fix up that bit of the magazine... looks like a bit of battle damage that was picked up when Thing 3 got her hands on it and threw it on the floor, much to my... ummm... consternation.

The assault cannon is a pretty good fit as it was quite... small. I think it's a good representation of Uriah's 'Redeemer' shotgun.

The other model I finished was a Commissar for my Astra Militarum. I love this model. Apparently so much that I have two (no idea why... and I have misplaced the second one...).
"Go on, flee - I dare you. I double-dare you, motherf@#$er!"

"This crop? Oh. Umm.. it's for sorting the Conscripts out"
Next up is an Inquisition Henchmen warband and a Cherub dragging a book.

Last photo is a Proud Dad™ moment. Late last year my son (aged 5) painted his first miniature.

I was recently scrabbling through a storage box (as you do) and found this other model that I had picked up in a TradeMe auction. Well colour me surprised when they looked like they had been painted in the same colours...

His is the Space Marine.  


Saturday 16 August 2014

Online shopping luck... or at your local games store (if you're lucky)

I've had a good experience lately doing a bit of online shopping which has sparked some reflection on hobby shops and wargaming purchases in general.

Now, I have historically done a lot of my hobby shopping online, because these days I generally know what I want (in advance of when I will want it) and I am usually planning ahead so don’t get all compulsive…
… except today.

I realised with a mounting sense of dread that I had missed out ordering the Space Wolf Data Cards.

I checked the GW website. 

In a slight state of panic, I rang up the local GW. I even rang up the Lower Hutt One Man Band shop. Nothing. A quick eBay search showed some USA stockists selling only to the US. Grrr I hate you (because I haven’t sorted freight forwarding but let's blame them because it's easier than taking responsibility for oneself).  The UK shops showed they were both in stock and out of stock. ARRGH! And it was too early in the day to call. The panic was really starting to amp up now…

Suddenly a brainwave. I had recently made a purchase at Livewire Games in Auckland, so I flicked them an email hoping on hope they still had one in stock. Pretty quickly I got a reply. They did. One. It had already been put aside for me.

I quickly paid and not long after that got an email to say my order had been dispatched. WHEW!

So a big thank you to James at Livewire (http://livewiregames.co.nz/) for sorting me out. 

Regading actual bricks and mortar hobby shopping, it seems like not that long ago (but is actually 2 years now) the local non-GW games store in town, Wargames Supply, closed down due to lack of… support, turnover, profit, cheap rent… all those things that affect small businesses.

That has left several (primarily) modelling stores, the local Games Workshop store, and one new games store as places I can actually step foot into (although I haven’t been to the latter, yet, as it’s on the other side of town and my weekends are generally very busy with family).

Since I am vaguely discussing good hobby shop purchasing experiences (although let's be honest, today was combined with a bit of luck) there are a couple of Christchurch stores that also deserve a mention. Comics Compulsion (http://www.comicscompulsion.co.nz/) is a fantastic shop with a wide variety of product, great service and Tim (the owner) is such a passionate advocate of the local wargaming scene (sponsoring Conquest every year). I always make a point of popping in to say hi when I am visiting family there. Nothing I have ever wanted to order has ever been any trouble.

Acorn Models (http://www.acornmodels.co.nz/) is another great place where I have got general hobby ‘stuff’ – great range and plenty of advice freely given on what is the best product to use for what I am wanting to achieve.

And if I cast my mind back to the dim dark ages past (the mid 90’s.... when I was living in Hamilton), there was Mark One Comics and Games (http://www.mk1.co.nz/). I used to run the 40k night gaming on a Thursday, where I used to get paid a blister (pack, not actual painful one) in return for my time. An excellent trade (Necromunda was big in my gaming group), and it was an excellent shop.  

As for my local Games Workshop store (https://www.facebook.com/GamesWorkshopWellington), I still try and pop in there when I am down that end of town – particularly if I am after paint, or brushes (while I am currently using Windsor and Newton brushes I really enjoy using GW brushes…. don’t ask me why. I just do. They feel right).

In particular, I always enjoy looking at what armies/models they have painted in the window, and chewing the fat with the manager, Nathan (who lets me do at nearly 40% of the talking as well, something I appreciate). I like just popping in - these guys do a great job getting new players into the hobby, and I always try to encourage people to go and spend time there getting to know the background and feed a bit off these guys passion (oh and make their first purchases).

So yeah – good wargaming shopping experiences. There’s something to think about and to celebrate. Have you got any stories about your favourite shops (bricks and mortar or online)? 

Thursday 14 August 2014

So what modelling has been going on then?

Ok, so some of you may know I like Impe… the Astra Militarum. I think it's the futility in the face of insurmountable odds yet they still keep on trying... Or something like that.

When I moved to Christchurch about 10 years ago, I had sold the last of my Space Wolves, and had a burning desire to do a horde type army. I didn’t identify with Tyranids or Orks, so Guard it was.

Fast forward a few years – I’ve played a few games, painted a few models, and I see something that really catches my eye… the Imperial conversion of an ork trukk that Dave Taylor came up with...


Well… I'm always keen on funky one-off models (Al Borthwick's KoS spring to mind) and I needed a couple of Hydras… so Dave very kindly supplied me with datafiles, I went off to an Australian laser etching company, and after a lot of cutting and filing and cursing and stuff Dave (again, very very very kindly) posted the pictures of the converted models on his blog. This was, if you click on the link, back in 2010.


Well here are the photos of the painted ones since I don’t think they have ever seen the light of the internet. At least, I don’t think they have…. …. …

Also germinating at the back of my head at the time was an idea for a Deathstrike Missile Launcher. Who takes these you ask? Well, nobody. Why would you? Except for fun… oh. Right. Actually, it's a chance to use those Apocalypse templates you've had since they were released eh.... 

Anyway. I had an idea for a Scud-esque launcher in my head back then, I bought an Ork Battlewagon (and eventually a Deathstrike/Manticore when they were released), and voila – nothing. It sat around in my storage containers for nearly four years. Depreciating.

But now, with my new found vigour and passion… it has been created.  Behold the Deathstrike!

Death from above!

Rolling, rolling, rolling...

Don’t ask how long it took me to bodge those rear wheels, I have suppressed it. There was a lot of cursing. Anyway, it looks ok and suitably Imperial and AV12/12/10 I think.

Also I have been busy building a Chimera to transport my Ogryns (or Bullgryns, if… when I get them <cough>)

Tired of complaints about getting sore heads?

...as well as converting my old Griffon to be a “counts as” Wyvern. I am so glad it failed to sell on TradeMe, I would have kicked myself because they are crazy good for the points! And I am sure nobody will be cross at me for using the Griffon model…

Second hand tanks come already battle damaged

Look out, behind you!

They all still need a bit of gap filling and roughing up so never fear... it will happen...

I also converted a couple of crew. The spotter was fun, once I got the periscope thing sorted in my head.
I see you! BOOM!

And here are a couple of Taurox all assembled (geez they were a breeze... apart from the bits on the sprue that were not on the plans...). These are for the Inquisition Militarum Tempestus allies I will have.
Probably sad they're not going to get painted for a while

So at the moment I am on a huge Astra Militarum vehicle assembly drive. I only have a finite supply of the old Catachan Green and the greys so they all have to be at least basecoated at the same time to make sure I don't run out. No pressure!

Until next time…