Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The End of the Year is Here! What?

Well at least for me it is!  Hi everyone. 

I work in the hospitality industry and the high season has begun in my corner of the planet.  That means more work, but also more overtime and extra shifts - hence more needed funds.  The high season lasts till the beginning of October. So I will be focusing mostly on work.

RESOLUTIONS

This also means I will be slowing down on the hobby-side of things.  It also means new resolutions! Last year my resolution was to ensure that I no longer built and painted models so I could have material to blog about.  Now I simply blog about what I modelled and painted.  In the beginning I use to blog more than once a week and it stopped being fun - not just the blogging, but also the hobby - so things had to change. 

Since then I have posted 2 to 4 times a month on a regular basis and this is the perfect balance for me.  During the high season I will still post the minimum of 2 posts I have set for myself.  

So for my new resolution I will focus on another problem.  I have the bad habit of starting one or more projects before finishing the one I am actually doing.  I end up with 3 to 5 open projects which take months to finish, simply because I get overwhelmed and end up putting stuff aside.  THIS HAS TO STOP.

It is a simple matter of self-discipline.  So from now on I will have only one to two projects at a time.  A more demanding sculpting/modelling project like a diorama and a simpler model painting project.  No more. This way I can alternate depending on how much time I have at my disposal. I will also have to finish up the open projects that are laying in my small studio.

So before I start anything new I will force myself to finish the Minotaur and Lamenter vignette and my second Space Wolf diorama.  As armies go I want to work on and complete my Space Wolf force and my 10mm High Elf Army - of which I have a pic below displayed in Kings of War formations.  This army, when ready, will double in size. In the near future, I will be taking the plunge into Gunpla. So don't be surprised if you see giant robots on this site.





My other resolution is to cut down on certain games and turn a new leaf.  If you have read my last post, I was stabbed in the back with the news of GW closing down their Specialist section.  So after a lot of contemplation, I have decided to sell off my epic army as well as other armies from other systems.

From now on, as gaming goes, I will focus on Dystopian Wars and Kings of War which I use for my 10/15mm armies.  By the end of the actual year, I will also post up a home-grown rule set for 10/15mm fantasy armies I have been working on - but more of that later. 

Naturally I will still put in the occasional 40K game with my beloved Space Wolves, but this will be the only game besides Blood Bowl, that I will play from GW.  Nothing personal, but I cannot afford to build another army from this company.  As I said, time to move on.
Well, that's it for this year!

Farewell and good health,


        NR




Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Eulogy For Specialist Games

Hi everyone,

A bit over a week ago I heard the news over the blogosphere that Games Workshop was closing down its Specialist section on their site.  Those who know me personally and those who have read my blog once in a while, know I am an avid Epic and 10mm/15mm fantasy wargamer. In fact, this blog is named after my passion for small scale wargaming.


So when I heard the news for the first time I was rather shocked, and to be completely truthful I panicked somewhat.  My first reaction was to get online and check out GW's Specialist section to see what was left?  Was it already taken down? Was everything gone?

It was not - at least not yet.

My second reaction was to buy as much stuff as possible to complete my Dwarf army and the Dark Elf army I always wanted.  I already have a 'not so small' High Elf and Orc armies, but I wanted the above two in order to play out the Elf Civil War, the Dwarf-Goblinoid War and the Dwarf-Elf Wars.  At least that was the dream. 


I also wanted to complete my half built Epic Eldar army and the Tau Battlefleet Gothic force.  I have a huge Imperial force already and I always wanted to start playing Battlefleet Gothic.  So you can imagine how much this was going to cost me, but I was not looking at the online basket.  I was just thinking about the armies I would never have.

After a while though, I calmed down enough to take a step back and take a good look at what I was doing.  I was going to spend a lot of money on games that were dead at the source - not a good idea.  When I finally got around to the price, reality sucked me back in.

It was not easy - not buying anything - but that is exactly what I did.  I decided there and then, that before I went on a shopping spree, I would see what I had and what I needed, as well as talk to my friends and fellow hobbyists to see what they were going to do.  Essentially a time to reflect.


Well to cut a long story short, my High Elf and Orc Warmaster armies where pretty much complete, but the Dwarf army and the Epic Eldar were only half complete.  I had not even started purchasing the Dark Elves and the Tau Fleet yet.

After consulting my friends, the picture was not looking good.  Most did not want to invest in dead games and none of us was willing to encourage new players to invest either (not that they would anyway).  Some were considering selling their Specialist armies, but few had come to any clear conclusion yet.  What seemed obvious to me was that my gaming circle was doomed to shrink were Epic and 10mm were concerned.

After giving it a day's thought I decided that I would keep my 10mm High Elf and Orc armies.  I don't think I could sell them even if I never played with them again - I'm just too attached to them.  However I will sell off my 10mm Dwarfs.  I will also sell off my Epic Eldar.  As for my Epic Imperials - I a still not sure what to do.   I was also going to scrap the idea of building a 10mm Dark Elf army and a Tau Fleet.

With the money I make off these I will complete my 15mm Dwarf and Orc armies and my new Covenant of Antarctica Airborne Force.

I cannot really express how sad this whole situation makes me.  I began playing Epic with the advent of Adepticus Titanicus and Space Marine - and have been hooked ever since.  It has also been my main wargame up till the advent of Warmaster.  I had long since been disillusioned with Warhammer (or HeroHammer as it used to be called back then) to the point that I have not played it in years.  I started looking for alternatives and ended up playing Grenadier's Fantasy Warriors for a while until I dropped out of fantasy completely.  Warmaster rekindled my passion for fantasy.  Since then I have written up my own rules, played several campaigns and expanded into 15mm armies.


So all I can say about GW's decision is that it is a bad one - at least in the long run.  They might make a buck in the short run - but then what?  What about all those old timers who stuck to certain games out of devotion and loyalty?  What about us? Does GW think we will start to buy 40K and Warhammer models instead now that the Specialist games are out?  I don't know and can't say for sure?  I, for one, certainly wont.  One reason is that Epic and Warmaster rules were tactically and strategically superior to their 28mm counterparts - that is why I played them.

What I do know is that if they sold the rights to these games to third party companies, GW would still be making a profit over the long term. A good example is Dust Tactics. They were being produced first by Fantasy Flight Games and now by Battlefront.  If only GW had followed this model!

Now, whoever wants to build an army is going to have to collect an army that is a out of production.  This means that it is going to be more expensive to build a 6mm Epic and 10mm fantasy army than it would be to build their 28mm counterparts - which is absurd!

Ever since they truncated the Specialist division of their company several years back, Epic has been the most resilient of all the Specialist games, with a strong online and club community.  But can it survive this latest blow. Epic has very specific models protected by copyright that cannot be supplemented by other companies. So I don't see the gaming community growing.

Unlike Epic, 10mm wargaming is more generic and one can use other miniatures to build armies - even though none are as good as Citadel unfortunately.  There are also several rule sets besides Warmaster one can use with Warmaster armies. You might only have to change some of the basing and off you go.  I did the very same thing with my armies. I re-based all my cavalry models so I could play my own wargame as well as Kings of War in 10 and 15mm.  Therefore I think the 10mm fantasy community might still have the potential to grow, if other companies decide to invest in 10mm models.  Is this likely? - I can only hope so!

I have been following the dwindling selection of Specialist Games items for the past week on GW's site.  Watching wonderful models disappear for good, and this got me thinking about the future.  I will definitely be playing less now, especially if everyone starts selling their armies.  So what do I replace this allotted time with?  Another wargame - probably yes.  I will most certainly be spending more time now with my Covenant of Antarctica airborne army and might also expand with the sea and land forces.

I also always wanted to do more sculpting and model painting of showcase pieces and maybe branch out into the wonderful and varied world of Gunpla.   So this regrettable development might be just what the doctor ordered!


I honestly hope that this sorry state of affairs might one day change and that GW will wake up and see some sense, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  One will just have to stop crying,  make due and try to find a way to enjoy the armies he already has.

Long live Specialist Games,


      NR

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Talent Not Required : Accessorizing Part 2

Hi everyone,

I have finally finished the second part of this article.  I am sorry I took so long to post this but the recent news from the blogosphere about Games Workshop closing down its Specialist Games support got my feathers all ruffled up.    I spent three days talking with my gaming group and summing up the situation.  I had to determine whether or not to continue playing and collecting Epic and Warmaster - two of my favourite games.  I will be writing up a post about this for next Wednesday.  In the meantime let's continue with the article.

Helmets

Helmets are the easiest thing in the world to attach.  In fact, I am mentioning it here just for the benefit of those who are brand spanking new to the hobby.  Basically in order to attach a Space Marine helmet to the Space Marine body, all one has to do is remove the neck piece with a hobby knife.
To help with the fit, I like to scrap a bit of plastic of the leg with a sharp hobby knife.  In my humble opinion this leads to a more natural fit.

Placing the helmet to the side is one of the best ways to cover up the the space between the Space Marine's backpack and his rear side.  I mentioned this in the first part of the article. 


Putting it all Together

There is no fixed rule to accessorizing your model.  Some modelers and gamers follow their whims, others have a systematic approach, while others combine both methods.  I belong to the latter. 

Below is an arrangement I like to use quite often - and not just with Space Marines.  It is an arrangement I like to use with running poses.  As you can see, the sword and the helmet are placed in a way that complements the action of the model.  The drawback is that one cannot place a hand gun (such as a Bolt pistol) on the side.

Since I want a pistol on the side, I have opted for a different arrangement.  By placing the helmet on the other side and attaching the sword to the back, under the backpack, opens up a space for a Bolt pistol.  This is the arrangement I use for most of my specialists.

At this point it is a good idea to to attach the base of any furs on the loin area. This is a very simple simple procedure that I have already covered in another tutorial but which I will cover quickly here.

Mix some green stuff together.  For the base, use a ratio of 3 parts blue and 1 part yellow.  This will yield a tougher, harder base to work on.    Then roll out the putty using talcum powder to avoid it sticking to everything. 

Then, all you have to do is cut out the desired shape and attach it to the groin area of the model as in the pic above.  Cutting out the basic shape on a piece of paper first and using it as a negative to cut the putty around is also a good idea.  At this point set the model aside and let it dry.   Do not sculpt in fur at this stage.

One more point I would like to make is that there are several companies that produce ready made furs that are of excellent quality, and which I have bought and will use.  The problem with these pre-casted furs is that they are very inflexible and are not very suited for action poses; where you want your fur to have an organically flowing pose that reflects the motion of your model.  

Pouches  

If there is one thing I love doing is pouches.  Besides being easy to do, and full of character - they also fit well with the Viking/barbarian theme of the Space Wolves.  These accessories are also an excellent tool to fill in spaces on your model, as they can be of any size and shape.   For this tutorial I will be doing a round pouch.  To begin, make a small ball of putty from green stuff.  Mix 3 parts yellow to 1 part blue, and  press it into the area where you want the pouch to be. Work the putty into the desired shape - that is squarish, roundish to rectangular etc.  
You could leave it like this as in the picture above, but for this tutorial I will be going a step further and showing you how to add a metal lining.   The first thin to do is leave the putty to set about for 10 minutes while on the model.  Then press a seam into the putty with a hobby knife.
Now use a thin piece of string and calculate the length of the perimeter.  This will give you an idea of how much wire you will need to cut.  Be as accurate as possible in the length.  Trying to cut the wire to size while on the putty is a recipe for disaster.  I use a very fine wire that I buy from my local arts and crafts shop.  A spindle is inexpensive and lasts a lifetime.

Before placing the wire into place bend it around a paint brush handle to give it a circular form.  Then, with a pair of fine tweezers place the wire into the grove.  If, due to the fitting process, you misshape the putty somewhat, now is the time to gentle reset the shape.  For the more adventurous, you can take a smooth toothpick and shape up one or two folds.  Whatever you choose to do, now is the time to set it aside to cure.

When it has cured take an even smaller ball of putty and place it on top of the pouch - let it set for five minutes.  As I am sure you have guessed we are about to do the top flap.


With a flat or round sculpting tool, sculpt the flap into the desired shape and with a damp hobby knife trim any excess off.

With the hobby knife gently raise the edges of the flap to give it a more lively 3D appearance.  While you're at it, use the point of the knife to form the button slit.   As always be careful when using a hobby knife.  Make sure the point and edge are kept away from your fingers.


Furs

At this stage, you can finish the fur - just be careful not to accidental touch the flap.  I always do the actual fur last as this allows me to tie everything together.  As I have already done a tutorial on fur I will be brief.  Add balls of putty to the underling layer.  Use the 3 yellow to 1 blue mix for this, and allow the putty to set for 5 to 10 minutes.  Then with a needle, sculpt the fur detail into the putty using a short, wave like motion.  When you have added fur to the whole area; add folds with a damp hobby knife.  You can see the folds in the second pic below.  Set it aside to dry
At this point to the work is done.  When cured, all you need to do is add a button. In theory it is simple - place a minuscule ball of putty into position and gently tap it into place and shape. Unfortunately, this can be a bit trickier than it sounds. Just persist with a modicum of patience and you will do fine.  

Well that is a wrap.  I hope the article helps anyone out there who is beginning to collect Space Wolves and wants to try a few simple techniques to give your models some originality or theme.  If there are any questions please ask in the comments below.  I promise to get back to you - but sometimes it might take a while due to work and life obligations.

Farewell and good health,



        NR

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dystopian Wars:- Daedalus Part 6

Hi everyone,

As promised, here are some pictures of the finished Daedalus large flyers from Dystopian Wars.  I am quite fond of them, even though I got trashed in my first game.  In my next game, I plan to use two ships with just normal turrets, and one with both energy turrets which I will use from a distance. I will see how this setup does. 

Well enough talk.  Its time for pictures.





My next flyer will be the Epicurus Class Sky Fortress.  On first observation it seems more detailed and complicated than the Daedalus, but I am sure I will get around it somehow!  Stay tuned for next week as I will post up the second part of the Accessories tutorial.  Until then!

Farewell and good health,


        NR




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