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Friday, September 30, 2011

Gamers, Doin’ it for themselves!

So an interesting topic came up the other night during our club’s weekly painting session and I thought it’d be interesting to get everyone else’s opinion on it too.  The topic of discussion was:  ‘Is Forgeworld Legal and should it be allowed in Tournaments?’  I strongly believe that it should and the reasons why are as follows.

1. For: ‘It’s our hobby’ – We’ve been told time and time again by Games Workshop that this is our hobby and we should do what we want to with it.  I can appreciate the security in knowing that List X or Unit Y have been vetted by the GW team and they have deemed it worthy of the rubber stamp of officialdom but seriously, do you really think that all these army books / codices are play tested to death to ensure that everything is fair and even?  If you do, I’ve got three things to say to you:
                                                               i.      Army Book: Daemons of Chaos
                                                             ii.      Codex: Blood Angels
                                                            iii.      Codex: Grey Knights

The fact is Forgeworld consistently releases test rules that players can download for free (FREE!), test out in their own games of 40K and Fantasy at home and provide feedback to the designers for moderation. Forgeworld is not above changing the rules for something if there is sufficient reason to. Just ask Carl and Geoff at the Independent Characters.

2. For: ‘Warhammer is not designed to be a Tournament game’.  This should be no surprise to anyone as GW has been making this statement for as long as I can remember (and probably longer as many Warhammer Veterans can most likely attest to).  The fact of the matter is gamers themselves have been making alterations to rules and army composition for years so making a decision on whether to allow Forgeworld units (with or  without certain exceptions to the rules) should be no great leap in all honesty.  There are many tournaments in the US that allow Forgeworld units so long as they don’t possess Mass/ Structure Points.  

3. Against: ‘If GW made Forgeworld official, people would be able to buy FW Armies without fear of not being able to use them in Tournaments’.  My counterpoint to that is this:  There’s nothing that Forgeworld makes that you can’t field as a ‘counts-as’ army using those miniatures.  Hell, I've seen entire other races being used as a ‘counts as’ army using the so-called “Official” GW model range.  The 40K ‘Orkquisition’ army comes to mind here.  At least with FW, you’re facing guardsmen that look like actual guardsmen, not Armoured Orks that are supposed to be a Space Marine.  

That being said, if you’re buying a Forgeworld army, then you’re probably not a power gamer who’s after the most powerful, killy-death army that can wipe your opponent off the table in 0.5 turns.  Forgeworld’s design concepts are heavily fluff-driven and their products are usually purchased by those people to whom this fluff appeals to, not WAAC (Win At All Costs) Gamers.  Honestly can you actually picture facing off against a player with his FW Death Korps of Krieg army with no heavy weapons bar Mortars yelling ‘WAAC! WAAC!’ at you as you smash him off the board with your own IG Mech Guard Army or your Draigowing Grey Knights?

4. Against: ‘If we allow FW units, then where do we draw the line?  Do we allow Fandexes?’  My answer to this is simple:  It’s up to the Tournament Organiser to make that decision.  There’s no all-seeing all-knowing organisation that is going to make you allow Army Books / Codices you don’t want to allow.  This comes back to point 1:  IF YOU DON’T WANT TO DO IT, YOU DON’T HAVE TO.  IT’S YOUR HOBBY!!  If you decide you want to allow FW Chaos Dwarves to be used in Warriors of Chaos Armies, or even allow the use of the Chaos Dwarf Fandex, then you’re well within your rights to do so.  So long as the Tournament Pack makes it clear that the army is allowed (and being used) and they TO doesn't have a problem with it, then why not?  I can think of two groups off hand - The Warhammer Fantasy Battle Reporter Forum and the Codex Project that work tirelessly to produce well designed, Fandexes that undergo rigorous play-testing and review by the 40K and Fantasy communities alike before they are posted as a finished product.  If I were a betting man, I’d make the wager that these Fan works are probably more thoroughly play tested than many of GW’s own works.  If such a thing was true (and the potential for it to be is there), it would be very disappointing to say the least.

Now I leave you all to have your own discussions on the topic.  I hope that my contributons on this area have provoked some new thoughts regarding Forgeworld and possibly Fandexes, and I hope that you have a look at the two sites I mentioned above. 

Catch you all Later


Sunday, September 25, 2011

WOC Update: Khorne in a Can! Bronze Spray Paint = MEGA WIN!!!!!!!

I don’t know about you, but I love wandering through hardware stores.  I’m not a tradesman by any stretch of the imagination and I’d only be considered a handyman if all of your problems can be fixed with the liberal manipulation of kinetic energy using a variety of handy implements (usually large and heavy in nature, quite possibly resembling a hammer or some other type of blunt instrument).  That being said, within every hardware store (and some auto stores too), there is a whole world of wondrous items waiting to be discovered - From blades of every size, shape and inclination to random small hose connections that scream drainage system.  It is within one of these wondrous establishments that I made my greatest discovery – Bronze Spray paint. 

I know, I know, it’s a bit of an anticlimax isn’t it?  For those who already know of its existence, it’s a very ho-hum affair.  But for those such as I, who have slaved under the white light of an eco-conscious fluorescent light bulb, applying layer upon layer of bronze paint onto Chaos Warrior armour, this is a Gift from the very Gods themselves.  With one fell-swoop I’m able to undercoat and basecoat the armour of a Chaos Warrior, creating a solid layer of colour that I can build up from basecoat to highlight in a matter of minutes rather than hours. The best part is – I no longer need my extensive collection of Dwarf Bronze paint pots filled with bronze paint of varying consistency (all of them victims of my inability to come up with a solid paint / water ratio for the GW Spray Gun).  For all of you who actually own an airbrush I am acutely aware of the fact that using the GW Spray Gun of Fail was more than likely a contributing factor.  However all of that is now a thing of the past with my latest discovery. 

Now, armed with a small pallet fully laden with cans of Bronze spray paint and the boundless enthusiasm of youth, I go forth to swiftly paint Chaos Warriors!  Woe betide those who stand between me and my fully-laden +1 Mace of Undercoating!!  As can be seen below, my trusty mace has been getting a bit of a workout as I steadily undercoat my unit Khorne Warriors with Two hand-weapons.  Below are a couple of pics showing the undercoating process and several WIP pics.

Catch you all Later


Friday, September 23, 2011

Organising your hobby – The CNC Workshop Modular hobby station

Generally speaking, when it comes to being a wargaming hobbyist, there are stereotypically two types:  Those who work best in a clean, well organised environment and those who thrive in chaos.  On all my friends, I have possibly the most disorganised work spaces with models, paints, brushes etc all adding clutter to my desk.  It has gotten to a stage however where I fear for my models safety, as there have been instances where I’ve set down a model or a tool, turned my back for a moment and return to find the item missing and a list of painting demands left in its place.  Desperate to ensure the safety of my miniatures and tools, I’ve searched to find a way to organise my work area better.  Like a precision laser-cut Valkyrie swooping down to take a fallen warrior to Valhalla, CNC Workshop has granted new life to my hobby area, helping me create something that is not only organised but relatively portable too.  But I get ahead of myself here; perhaps I should start at the beginning.

For those who don’t know, CNC Workshop is a company who specialises in designing and creating tabletop wargaming accessories using precision machined MDF.  Their products page is broken up into a number of different series, producing everything from scatter terrain bases to even gaming tables themselves.  One of my personal favourites is the Bunkers series which also includes awesome $26 Drop-pod equivalents.  For many years now I’ve been meaning to buy a couple of their kits to see what they’re like, but I’d never gotten around to it - Too much money being diverted into supporting my plastic crack habit and buying Black Library books.  Luckily however, I found a couple of them going to quite reasonable rates on the WestGamer forum and gleefully picked up the Tool-Rack and Parts Rack; both of which are part of the Painting Accessories Series.  What follows below is my musings on the kits themselves and why I think they are worth investigating.

The first thing you notice is that the entire kit comes in a very IKEA-esque flat-pack, with all the components securely attached to a MDF sprue looking reminiscent of a GW kit.  Using a combination of clippers, Stanley knife and sandpaper, you are then required to carefully remove and clean all the components in preparation for assembly using PVA glue.  Thankfully all the instructions are included inside the pack using easy to follow diagrams and not a badly-translated sentence in sight. 

It is at this point that I would strongly recommend NOT cutting everything off at once.  It’s very easy to get things mixed up and / or lost, particularly when some of the components are quite small.  It’s at this point where I think it would be beneficial for all the items to be numbered in some fashion so those who are even less carpentry-savvy than I can follow the instructions.  The whole project is broken down into several sub-assemblies; making it easier to progressively get everything ready for the final build.  For the most part, the assembly stage wasn’t difficult, merely time consuming.  I strongly recommend having tape or rubber bands close at hand so that you can secure areas that aren’t sitting properly while the PVA glue dries.

Overall, the items are well calculated and you get a pretty good bang for your buck.  The designers have planned out the sprues perfectly so there is very little wasted space anywhere to be found.  Truth be told, I had a bit of trouble clipping things off at one stage.  The other great thing is that there are compartments for everything – paint brushes, files, rulers, clippers and even a pack of tissues!  The other great thing is that each kit is designed to be modular, allowing you to clip them together in as many configurations as you can think of.  Apart from the numbering issue I mentioned above the only other problem I’ve found is the cleaning up afterwards is a chore as there are MDF shavings / off cuts everywhere.  These kits are well put together and some may freak at the price (from $20 - $40 AUS a unit), you pay almost that much for a GW plastic hero miniature these days (at least here in Aus).  Besides, considering the time saved looking for lost tools and transporting hobby gear between locations, you’re almost earning money.  Give the CNC Workshop a go and see what you think.  If nothing else, it may spark some ideas for designing your own portable hobby station. 

Catch you all later


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

40K Update: First among equals – the Deathwatch have arrived!

So I thought I'd try something different in the way I format and post my Blog posts.  Rather than have one giant article, I thought I'd break then up into smaller articles with more photos so that's there's not as much commentary to wade through.  Let me know what you think about this new layout.

Anyhow, while working on terrain for my 40K board, I’ve succumbed to the siren song of Emperor’s finest and completed a couple of models that have been demanding my attention for some time now.  The first of these was my Salamander Chaplain who was introduced to this Blog during one of my initial posts.  Having him completed is both rewarding and frustrating.  Rewarding because I now have an exceptionally painted Chaplain model to use in my games and frustrating considering all that was left to do was the cluster of purity seals on the rear of his power-pack. 

In addition to this, I’ve been able to finish two of my Deathwatch Marines that I’ve had on my painting desk for quite a while now.  I’ve always loved the look and feel of the Deathwatch – the best of the best, all receiving elite training that will turn them into the greatest Alien-hunters in the Imperium of Man.  The fact that many chapters have had members trained in the Deathwatch means that I can indulge myself and paint a range of Chapter colours without being stuck with an army that is disjointed and hap-hazard.  The Sternguard from the standard Space Marine codex is the perfect unit to use as a basis for including my Deathwatch in games, giving me a powerful, yet very thematic feel to my games.  Of latest two that have been completed, one is from the Legion of the Damned (a very unfluffy choice I know), while the second is from a friend’s Custom Space Marine Chapter based around the Iron Hands.  These two will join my other 5 painted Deathwatch Marines who have been included in Photos below.  As always, any comments or criticisms are encouraged. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Minor Characters – Like a push-up bra for Fluff

So it turns out, when it comes to writing fluff, your main character never really stands alone – eventually you feel the need to develop back stories for other personalities that make up your army.  When you think about it, Batman has Robin, Robin Hood has his merry men, and King Leonidas has his valiant 300.  I’ve always felt that while it is all too easy to write your character to be the greatest thing since practical dentistry, your background becomes more believable when it’s not just one man kicking ass on his own.  Hell even Bruce Willis had help in Die Hard (perhaps not much but he had some damnit!).  In the case of army fluff, these characters may be lieutenants, friends or even a disapproving uncle who is just one puff of wierdroot away from complete and utter crazy.  It doesn’t matter who they are, but just by being included in the story they immediately provide depth to the main character.  To that end, I’ve provided bio’s for some of my minor characters below.  Also, I’ve included a sneak peek of some of the items I’m working for my next hobby article at the end.  Let me know what you think. 

Romulus Ironwolf – A Chaos Lord in his own right, Romulus has rules over the Wulfkin Tribe for almost a decade.  During each year under his reign, the tribe has grown in wealth and status, overtaking a number of neighbouring tribes in the process. When the call to war came, Romulus assembled all of his mightiest warriors and marched south towards the lush lands of the Empire, intent on returning with much wealth and even more verses to his already considerable saga. 

Rojak the Wyrdling – The Shaman of the Wulfkin tribe, Rojak’s unwavering dedication to Tzeentch has earned him considerable power from his mighty patron.  Commanding a host of spells, Rojak is also gifted with an exceptionally talented wych-sight, allowing him to pluck spells of out the minds of enemy wizards and using their own spells to destroy them.

Rameus Ironfang – Romulus’s second in command, Rameus marches to war holding aloft the banner of the Wulfkin tribe.  One of the favoured of Tzeentch, Rameus was gifted with a daemonic weapon that constantly thirsts for blood.  During battle, the daemon stirs within the weapon and begins to croon seductively, slowing the reactions of the foe and allowing the weapon to drink deeply of their life-giving wine.

Iagen Wulfbrother – A follower of Tzeentch and one of Romulus’s trusted Lieutenants.  Countless warriors have quailed at the implaccable march of Iagen and his Chosen bretheren whose magical bronze armour is capable of even turning aside cannon shot.  Accompanying Iagen into battle is a pair of black-maned mountain wolves that are native to the Wulkin Tribes mountainous homeland.  These differ to the vicious, black-furred wolves that accompany Borrick Gorefist.

Borrick Gorefist – A Champion of Khorne, he and his Favoured of the Bloodgrim Tribe encountered Romulus shortly after his rise to power.  After being defeated by Romulus in a challenge for leadership, the followers of the Blood God were assimilated into his army, continuing their march of conquest, pillaging and taking skulls at every opportunity.  After a disastrous encounter with undead during the march south, Borrick has ensured that the haft of his warriors’ weapons are tipped with a silver stake to ensure that any vampire that goes down, stays down.

Tcholl Firefist – The leader of the Bloodgrim’s marauder tribesmen.  While the Tribesmen are not as gifted as Borrick’s Favoured, their large numbers and their vicious flails make short work of any enemies they encounter.