Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GW Financials Freak Out

You've probably heard that Games Workshop released their annual financial report today. When I got up, Twitter looked like this:


The panic, the vitriol, the calls to play other games- it continues to amaze me.

But the truth is, almost none of us should care. Do you regularly read the financials for other companies whose products your enjoy? How'd Coke do last quarter? How about GM? Proctor & Gamble? Unless you're an investor or a financial nerd (like myself) you probably have no clue about the financial health of the companies whose products you use every day.

Why is Games Workshop any different? Can you still go buy your Space Wolves, your Chaos Daemons? Of course you can. The systems are being strongly supported. They're putting out new products at an almost blistering pace. Nearly every single week a new product (or two) is being released.

Love them or hate them, Games Workshop is the cornerstone of our hobby. They're not going to disappear tomorrow. You might disagree with some of their decisions (I certainly do), but they're still making a profit, investing, and putting out great miniatures. They're not danger of going under.

So stop freaking out and go enjoy your Space Marines.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blister Bashed Rune Priest: Alfric Icefang

Since 7th edition came out, I've been running two Rune Priests instead of just one. I have the regular GW Rune Priest, but didn't want to use two of the same model. I really like the Njal Stormcaller model, but he's in termie armor (and, you know, is also Njal) so he didn't really work. Njal's a bit too expensive to take as himself.

So I decided to do a "blister bash"- it's not exactly a kit bash since they're just small, single figures. Njal was the obvious choice for the pieces I wanted from him, but I wasn't sure what other model made sense to go with him. I scrolled through a lot of pictures and suddenly the option was clear: Inquisitor Coteaz.

He was perfect. Really awesome armor, that nice big pelt, and best of all- a perch for Njal's Cyber Raven! I was so stoked for the project at this point (more on what happened after in a bit). After all was said and done, I ended up with this:

I have dubbed him Alfric Stormfang, Chooser of the Slain. I took Njal's staff, Cyber Raven, wolf head, and pelt paws to add to Coteaz. From Coteaz, I subtracted his hour glass, his 47 Inquisitorial "I"s, his belt buckle, purity seal, the eagle, and his hammer. I also added a belt piece and wolf tail from the Wolf Pack box for a little bit more wolfy flair.

I did a very rough test fit (thank you, blue tack) with everything to make sure it looked the way I wanted. I debated between two different belts, and asked Twitter for some help. Twitter responded overwhelmingly in favor of the belt I ultimately chose. It really does look nicer with this belt, thank you for your opinions.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Historicon 2014, The Big 3-0

I had quite the busy weekend. Historicon 30 took place and I was fortunate enough to be able to go. Although, it didn't work out quite as originally planned. We were going to spend the whole weekend there, starting Friday morning.

Super cool terrain piece. Not exactly historic, though.
It's my busy season at work, so I couldn't actually take off on Friday morning and go down with Casey. Unfortunately, this meant that I missed the Saga tournament, and I'm disappointed by that. I went down Friday night instead, so I didn't miss everything.

There was some kind of madness with registration on Saturday, I spent about an hour in line just to get in for Saturday (and it lasted for a few hours after I got in, too). Because I wasn't sure if I could take off work, I didn't preregister for the weekend. Huge mistake. I ended up missing out on something I wanted to do while waiting in line, and two other events I wanted to do were full by the time I was able to get through the line.

I did get to do a demo for All Quiet on the Martian Front, and wow that was a lot of fun. I was incredibly skeptical at first because it's 15mm. But the game couldn't work any other way. It takes place during the "second Martian war" shortly after the one in HG Wells' War of the Worlds.

What's not to love?
Giant tripod martians? Little tiny, but spunky humans? Yup, this is for me. The starter set is priced at $100, but it comes with a good deal of stuff. It includes a small rulebook, dice, templates, 3 Martian Tripods and an equally pointed set of humans and tanks. I very nearly bought it, but due to money constraints decided to wait a bit (I did just drop $125 on Stormclaw).

There was a really huge game that went on later in the day. There were about 10 people on either side, humans and Martians. It looked like a ton of fun, although I didn't participate.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Welcome, All-Father

A simply delightful surprise arrived in my mailbox this week- my Odin miniature from Oathsworn Miniatures. I don't even know where to begin with it- just look at it.

Taking decent photos of unpainted minis is harder than I thought.
The All-Father, in all his one-eyed glory, across the back of his trusty steed Sleipnir.

Sleipnir's body came in halves, and I've already put them together. I also attached Odin's spear arm. The rest is just held on there with gravity and blue stuff for effect. I want to paint the mount and rider separately, and they still have some mold lines to be filed off.

The details are incredibly crisp, all the way from his hair, to the shield, to the ties on his boots. Odin himself fits together wonderfully. I'm especially fond of how the hand and shield go together- it makes him look as if he's really holding it, instead of it just being stuck to his fist. Little things like that go a long way to making something good into something great.

The halves of Sleipnir did need a little help fitting together smoothly, I had to file him down a good bit before they were mostly flush. Then I put a little rope of green stuff all along the edge of one half before I put them together to cover up the seam. Worked like a charm.

I might, before I put Odin on him, add a saddle of some sort. He looks fine on there without one, but I imagine that the All Father would prefer to ride his magical, flying horse in style. I have a little more clean up to do, mold lines and such, before I get started with that, though.

This miniature was part of a Kickstarter that successfully funded in May. Oathsworn is launching another Kickstarter on Monday (July 21st) for a very fun set of dwarves called Clan McFiggin. Hopefully not long after that they will launch the one featuring Freyja. Frejya is Odin's bad-ass goddess counterpart who receives half of the dead (the other half go with Odin to Valhalla). The mini is already sculpted, like Odin she is mounted, riding her boar Hildisvíni.

I'm really looking forward to finding some time to paint him soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Saga Bretons

I've been meaning to post some photos of these guys for ages and ages. They were finished back in March, I took them to Adepticon in April and then... I forgot to photograph them until now. I'm pleased with how my Bretons turned out, although they did take a lot of work (well, mostly the bridles).

They are a very cavalry-heavy army, so lots and lots of horses! I have 25 mounted guys, so it was really like painting 50 figures, plus all my levies.

My Breton Warriors.
All these figures are the ones made by Gripping Beast (not a great website). I got their 4 point starter set and a couple blisters to expand them out to 6 points. Sadly, these models are all metal. I spent an inordinate amount of time taking the horse's bridles and splitting them down the center to separate the bridles because it would look better.

Before and after on the bridles.
 It does look better, it really does, but wow it added about 30 hours to the assembly and prep stage of getting these guys done. I drilled several holes in the middle of the part I wanted to remove, used my clippers to cut the majority of it out, and then used metal files to shape them properly.

Close up on the Warroirs.
 The banner came from Little Big Men Studios, as part of the Breton shield transfer sheet. If you ever need transfers for something like this, I highly recommend them. They were wicked easy to use and they all look stunning. They have ones for all kinds of different systems and factions. I also used the round ones on my Warriors, although those were Saxon shields and didn't quite fit (too small). I got them because they were in the store, at the moment I wanted them, so no regrets.

Hearthguard and their Warlord.
I had a really fun time playing in the Saga tournament at Adepticon, although you wouldn't know it since it took me until now to write about it. But all my games were really enjoyable. The scenarios we did were very fun, too. My favorite one had both Warlords locked in combat in the center of the table, and the rest of the battle fought on around them. 

My Warlord on his dapple grey horse.
His shield was the only one I painted myself, partly out of necessity. The transfer sheet only had enough kite shields for my 8 Hearthguard. I wanted to make it fancier, but I couldn't come up with a design I liked.

These are my Battle Levies. They're no joke.
These Levies are not some wormy peasants, but battle-hardened men who back down to no one. Normally, Levies aren't great. But these guys have single-handedly killed several units of Hearthguard, Warriors, and very nearly killed a Warlord. They needed a little help from the Hearthguard to finish off that Warlord, but they did survive the encounter (well, a few of them).

At the moment, I don't have plans to start another Saga army. I have too many things going on. But I am looking forward to their newest supplement release, The Crescent & the Cross, which will feature Crusaders and Saracens and four additional factions as well as some new scenarios. Last I heard its release was imminent, but hopefully soon.

Monday, July 14, 2014

NOVA Open Space Wolf List

 I've played a lot more in the last month than I have so far in this year. This is very exciting for me. I partially credit the release of 7th edition for my renewed enthusiasm. But the NOVA Open is also quickly approaching and I need to get some practice in.

Thunderous footfalls.
 Next weekend, one of my local stores is running their monthly tournament and I think I've come up with a solid list to take. I've been running something similar, tweaking it here and there as I go along.

1850 pts NOVA Open Test List
  • Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf, w/ Frost Axe and Storm Shield, a Fenrisian Wolf, and Saga of the Beast Slayer
  • Rune Priest, level 2 w/ Runic Armor and Melta Bombs
  • Rune Priest, level 2 w/ Runic Armor and Chooser of the Slain
  • Lone Wolf w/ Mark of the Wulfen, Melta Bombs, and a Fenrisian Wolf 
  • 9 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod w/ a melta gun
  • 9 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod w/ a plasma gun
  • 10 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod w/ 2 melta guns
  • 3 Thunderwolf Cavalry, 1 w/ Storm Shield, 1 w/ Thunderhammer, 1 w/ metla bombs
  • 5 Long Fangs w/ missile launchers and squad leader w/ melta bomb
  • Imperial Knight, Errant

The big changes from the list I ran at NOVA last year are: adding a second Rune Priest, dropping the 4th squad of Grey Hunters, dropping the Aegis Defense line, and adding the Imperial Knight.

 As with last year, I've been dropping one Rune Priest into each of the Grey Hunter squads of 9. I'm pretty aggressive with where I land the drop pods, so they get right into the thick of the action as soon as they land. Sometimes this is more effective than others. I am reconsidering making my Wolf Lord my Warlord again, as he's a little bit tougher. I considered swapping his storm shield for runic armor, but he's modeled with the storm shield so I'm going to stick with it as-is for now.

The addition of the Imperial Knight has been really great, he gives a lot of heavy fire power that the army otherwise lacks. He also is a good distraction, if people are shooting at him, they aren't shooting at my Thunderwolves.

I'm looking forward to trying it out next weekend. 

The only downside is that the models that I ordered for my second rune priest have yet to arrive. I've been using a proxy. I was trying to do a conversion project with him, but neither of the models I want to kit bash together have arrived. This is Really Annoying. They're part of the "web exclusive" nonsense but I couldn't get them from GW's site because they were out of stock. Only one of the two was readily available on eBay, and it hasn't arrived yet either. 

Conversely, the upside is that he and my Imperial Knight are my only converting and painting projects leading up to NOVA. So I will be able to take it nice and easy with both of them, assuming I can get the models in the next week or so. Although, the painting on the Knight is 85% finished, so there won't be any rush on him.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Aroooo!! Stormclaw Box Set!

There's a voice on the wind, long howls in the distance. Is it a new Space Wolf codex? Well, no, not yet. But Games Workshop did put out a really cool new box set called Stormclaw. It's Space Wolves and Orks in a bloody, epic campaign battle. I, of course, ordered it immediately.

It's a little steep at $125 dollars, but it includes a nice bit of stuff. The two most attractive bits to me are the new special characters and the paperback rulebook. But first the new hotness:

Krom Dragongaze!
And, for you filthy Ork traitors players:

Grukk Face Rippa
Very, very nice! You can never have enough fun, crazy special characters in my book. I'm looking forward to putting Krom in my Space Wolf list, hopefully in time for the NOVA Open at the end of August.

The second super exciting part is that the set includes a paperback version of the rulebook. We need a second rulebook in my house, but I wasn't about to buy the whole rulebook set again just so Casey and I can each have a rulebook at tournaments. This is the *perfect* solution to that problem.

They round out the package with a campaign supplement book, 10 Grey Hunters, 5 Wolf Guard Terminators, 5 Ork Nobz, 3 Killa Kans, and 10 Gretchin. For the price, it's a pretty good deal, too. If you added it all up, just for the guys they already sell, you're looking at $175. If you then factor in the two new characters, the campaign book, and the rulebook, you end up somewhere in the $250-300 range. So, of course, it's a limited-time only thing.

I hope that they later sell Krom and Grukk separately in their own blisters because they're both really cool. I'd also like to see them sell that paperback rulebook separately, but I'm not delusional. I think it's safe to hope for a new Wolf codex soon. In the next 2-3 weeks would be perfect (then I could use it at NOVA) but I'll just be happy to get it at all.

The included campaign book is designed around all the minis that come in the box, so I think it'll be really fun to paint everyone up and play some small games. There are some new Datasheets and Formations included as well, and I'm interested to see what they're all about.

Assuming it arrives in a timely fashion, I will do an unboxing post next week when it arrives.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Stomps! Legs of a Knight

I've made some nice progress on my Imperial Knight! This has been a really fun project so far, and I have tried my hand at several new things.
First, I sculpted some fur onto his shoulder pads. I've never done any real sculpting before, and I'm very happy with how they've turned out so far. They're finished but the torso they attach to still has some work to go.

I thought it would be fun to do one brown and one grey. The more I paint brown fur, the more I think I am getting the hang of it. Just took a little longer to figure out than the grey. I might go back and touch up some of my grey wolves now, since they're a little sad.

Happily, I have made some good strides with the rest of him. His legs are entirely finished. I glued down the armor plates and his tabard last night. He went from being in about 16 pieces to being in 7. I went a little crazy with the decals, perhaps. I wanted him to look fancy enough to denote his stature, though.

One of the more fun parts was learning to make my own decals. Most of the decals shown are either from the Knight kit or from those that came with my Space Wolf boxes. But the wolf heads on the red part of his shin guards are ones I printed out myself, using Testors decal paper. I'll definitely talk about that more later, but as you can see, I think they turned out pretty swanky.

His left knee, though, is free handed. Again, another new thing. I've done minimal freehand to this point. I think it turned out ok for my first attempt. It looks good from here, but not so nice upon up close scrutiny.

I am enjoying working on him. Even though he was pretty pricey, I have already gotten more hobby time out of him than a box of Grey Hunters. He's approximately 1/3 complete, so the price per hobby hour is about the same. I am going to field him for the 4th time tomorrow and I'm quite looking forward to it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beginings of an Imperial Knight

A couple weeks back, I went to a swap meet at my FLGS to unload some minis I'll never get around to painting. The hope was I'd sell enough stuff to be able to buy and Imperial Knight, and I did just that! He only cost $40 out of pocket. Quite a nice deal, I'd say.

What is that? Can I kill heretics with it?
  I tried to plan out how many pieces I wanted him to be in for painting- turned out to be a lot. He has a lot of parts to him, and I want to make the painting process as easy as possible. I left all his armor plates off, and kept his arms, his legs, and his torso separate. I have blue stuffed him together several times, for test fitting but also for my very first game of 7th!

Stomp, stomp, stomp!
 Despite having no arms, he did very nicely for himself. I think he brings a lot to my Space Wolf army that it really needed. I'm a little disappointed he can't just reach up and swat fliers out of the sky, but you can't have everything :-) .

Trying to position his arms was tricky.
Eventually he did get his arms. I opted for the Knight Errant version. I really, really like that giant melta gun. The points of articulation on him are awesome, it makes customizing his pose a breeze. But it was a little involved trying to get him to look just the way I wanted while trying to hold 6 places still. I got there eventually.

I wanted to make him proper wolfy-looking to theme up with my Wolves. So he got some pelts added. First, I took his hanging tabard, clipped off the fringe at the bottom and added fur to the back of it. Then I started wolfing up his shoulder pads and eventually came up with this:

 It might look familiar- there's a variant Space Wolf shoulder pad that looks just like this. That's what gave me the idea. For my first attempt really sculpting anything from scratch, I am very pleased with how it turned out.

I am going to paint some runes along his armor as well, but as far as conversion work goes, that's about the end of it. I didn't want to over power him with all kinds of crazy stuff. But I did dig through my bits box and come up with a few choice pieces to add to him for a little more character.

Originally, I was thinking of painting him mostly white with bronze accents, but I am wavering on that now. It was going to be difficult to paint and I was looking forward to the challenge, but now I'm not convinced that it will really look all that good on the table.

I've envisioned him as a Freeblade, so I've really run a little wild with his history. He's aligned himself with the Wolves, so his heraldry would reflect that. I'm thinking of calling him The Boot of Russ.

I am thinking of a heraldry consisting of a dexter wolf head and a sinister Imperial Eagle. I was going to have the wolf black with red background and the Eagle black with a yellow background. Red and yellow are the accent colors on my Wolves, so he'd tie in with them. Not sure on any of the colors now, as I am rethinking his whole scheme.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wargods of Olympus KS Arrived!

I got a delightful surprise yesterday in my mail box- some fantastic Olympic demigods from Crocodile Games. They did a Kickstarter last summer for Wargods of Olympus. They're the same folks who make Wargods of Aegyptus.

They were unexpected because the Kickstarter wasn't set to deliver until July. They sent the PDF of the rulebook to backers ages ago, the minis got here now, and the physical rulebook will be sent shortly. I couldn't be happier with these figures. Just look at some of them:

Dionysus is SO MERRY.
Lovely Hecate.
Hephaestus, complete with power fist.

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