Sunday, November 30, 2008

GENERAL: Bi-monthly book update

After showing some uncharacteristic restraint in my last book update I inevitably succumbed and bought a raft of new Games Workshop publications.

Codex: Space Marines and the Warriors of Chaos army book were obvious buys; I always collect each 40k codex on release and the Warriors are my only Fantasy army. I haven't read either properly yet, although I have built some lists for my Chaos army. I'm sure to read both over the coming couple of months so I'll review them in my next update.

I bought both of the Forge World hardbacks while I was down at Warhammer World at the Gauntlet Tournament. I was hoping to finish the Siege of Vraks book in time for this update but I was 20 pages short. Again, I'll report back on that next time around. I've only had a flick through the Modelling Masterclass book so far but it looks great. It is heavily illustrated with tonnes of cool examples and I'm sure to get a lot of tips from it. The problem with the Forge World books is their size; you'd never carry one around with you to read on the bus, for example, so you can only read it at home and you really have to set time aside to do it. I always struggle to choose between painting, modelling, updating my blog and reading.

Mechanicum was a late addition to my shopping list and will hopefully be a lot easier to devour as it is a paperback. It's top of my reading pile.

So far I've only told you about the books I haven't read, so what the devil have I been up to?

Well, my schedule has been positively crazy over the past few weeks so I just haven't had the time to dedicate to any kind of gaming activity at all. I have done some reading, though, it's just not been specifically gaming related.

I have included Fighter Boys, which I picked up cheap in Oxfam, because I read it in part to inform my Aeronautica Imperialis games. In that regard it was pretty handy as it covered the origins of the RAF, it's organisation and discussions on the merits of different equipment, weapons and planes. It was superb at conveying the feel of being a fighter pilot because the author went out and interviewed them. He also read their journals and diaries from the time.

As well as the personal stories, the book also described the wider conflict and the role the fighter pilots played in the second world war. The political capital garnered by the politicians at the time regarding the RAF struck me as very 40k in particular.

The book wasn't so special in it's narrative momentum, though. I guess that's because the author was a journalist not a novelist, and it is after all a factual account. The sheer scale of the author's research was on show at all times and sometimes it was a bit overwhelming. More than once I lost track of who was who and what they had done.

Nevertheless I'd recommend this book if you are at all interested in the Battle of Britain.

After that dry, thick, factual book I moved straight on to American Gods by Neil Gaiman. This was a birthday present which I started reading while on holiday and I've been feeling the guilt as it lay on my bedside cabinet unfinished ever since. I won't report back on this book as it has nothing to do with my gaming but at over 600 pages it will stop me from reading other books for a few weeks.

I don't know if anybody else out there does this but I go through bouts of starting lots of books at once. Over the last couple of months I was simultaneously reading five books (Fighter Boys, American Gods, Imperial Armour 6: Siege of Vraks Volume 2, the Warriors of Chaos army book, Codex: Space Marines) and then I decided I'd had enough and concentrated on one novel at a time. Fighter Boys is out of the way and American Gods will be next, then I'll probably show some discipline for a couple of books then I'll splurge again. Very strange.

Anyway, onto the lists.

Books read.
  • Fighter Boys

Books bought.
  • Mechanicum
  • Imperial Armour 6: Siege of Vraks Volume 2
  • Imperial Armour Model Masterclass Volume 1
  • Codex: Space Marines
  • Fighter Boys
  • Warriors of Chaos army book

Books wanted.
  • Red Fury
  • Planetkill
  • Titanicus
  • Imperial Guard Omnibus Volume 1

Here's what I already own and still need to read:
  • Imperial Armour Three: The Taros campaign
  • Liber Chaotica
  • Storm of Chaos
  • Imperial Infantryman's Primer (Damocles Gulf edition)
  • The Life of Sigmar
  • Faith and Fire
  • Dark Apostle
  • Cardinal Crimson
  • Warriors of Ultramar
  • Dead Sky, Black Sun
  • 13th Legion
  • Kill Team
  • Annihilation Squad
  • Space Wolf
  • Ragnar's Claw
  • Grey Hunter
  • Soul Drinker
  • The Bleeding Chalice
  • Crimson Tears
  • Soldier
My aim is to beat these lists until they hurt in time for my next book update. I want to read at least five of those publications on the list and add nothing to it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

GENERAL: Wot no gaming?

I have had an extremely busy week so I've had no opportunity to paint at all. In fact my gaming activities have been restricted to just one game of Warhammer. I haven't even managed to read anything (such as the Space Marine codex, Warriors of Chaos army book or finish the Siege of Vraks book 2). A very poor show.

Unfortunately things are unlikely to improve next week as I'm working then I'm away for a few days. Ho Hum. I'll just have to look forward to the week after that when I can start thinking about painting my Blood Angels again.

I've blogged my latest Warhammer game on my battle reports blog. It was my second game against Gary's revitalised Dark Elves. I chose to shake things up by includingArchaon in my list. Read all about it here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

GENERAL: Is this real or just a fantasy?

I've spent most of this afternoon concentrating on Warhammer Fantasy battle stuff.

I've written up the game I played against Gary earlier in the week and you can read it here. It was the first game using both of our new army books.

The game resulted in some damage to my models so I had to pin a weapon on my Champion in the large Warrior unit and do the same on my Charioteer. I took the opportunity to shorten his halberd as it was ridiculously large. Hopefully it will now fit in my carrying case a little better.

Speaking of carrying cases, I also needed to repair two of the foam trays in my Intersponge as my metal Warhound models had ripped the sponge walls from the base. I used a hot glue gun and I'm hoping it will do the trick.

My next WFB tasks are to read through my Warriors of Chaos army book and come up with a list for my next game and to find some answers to the rules queries that arose in my last game.

And finally, I've managed to put three more items up for auction on eBay. One of them, The Sabbat Worlds Crusade book, should be of interest to readers of this site as it details Dan Abnett's background to his Gaunts Ghosts series. The book is long out of print so I'm hoping it will fetch a good price.

My other auctions are for The ABC Warriors Khronicles of Khaos and Nemesis the Warlock book nine.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PAINTING: All that glisters...

I had my first day off yesterday following eleven consecutive days at work. I made myself a list of outstanding tasks which ended up running to twenty or so items. Gulp!

Near the top of my list was to paint the gold metals on my Brass Scorpion conversion. I estimated it would take three hours. It took six.

Here's the result.

I started with a 50/50 mix of Tin Bitz and Brazen Brass and blocked in the main gold areas. Next I added a layer of 50/50 Brazen Brass and Burnished Gold. The final highlight was a 50/50 mix of Burnished Gold and Mithril Silver.

To tie the layers together I covered it all with a Gryphonne Sepia wash. This gave the gold a lovely warm tint and took a lot of the harshness from the silvery highlight.

So that's two of the four main colours on my super heavy. Next up will be red on the armour plating and then I'll need to tidy up all the black areas and 'highlight' that with some metallic chips and damage. The final stage will be the detailing.

If you've noticed a change in the photographs accompanying this blog post it's because I tried to follow some of the advice in this post on From the Warp. I remember the original from Wee Toy Soldiers and it's just a shame that that blog is now no more. The guide is particularly handy for me because I have just started using Picasa and I'm really struggling with it. Kudos to Ron for resurrecting it on his outstanding web pages.

Finally, I've written up my thoughts on The Gauntlet tournament over on my Battle Reports blog.

So that's two things knocked off my 'to do' list. Tomorrow I plan on sorting out my Warhammer Fantasy battle stuff; I've got a battle report to write up, some models to repair, some rules queries to investigate and a new army list to write.

Ta ta for now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I haven't reported on my New Model Fund for over two months. That's because I've been trying to tighten my belt and concentrate on painting the models I already own, rather than buying new ones.

I did indulge over the weekend, though. The first model I picked up was Chaplain Lemartes for my Blood Angels. I wanted to field him in my 1000 point Gauntlet tournament list so I dropped £10 on him, but he arrived two weeks late. Ah well, I would have bought him eventually anyway. I now have the full set of Blood Angel Characters. It's just a shame he is such an ugly model. I may have to take the modelling knife to him before I break out the paint brushes.

The second set of models I bought were the new plastic Marauder horsemen. In contrast to the skull-faced goon Lemartes these models look very impressive. The light cavalry will replace the Furies in my old Hordes of Chaos list, and although they won't do it quite so well, they will be tasked to hunt enemy mages, war machines and other light cavalry. The other reason I got these models versus the new plastic Knights or Warhounds is that the latter are included in the new Warriors of Chaos battalion box (it comes with 12 Warriors, 20 Marauders, 10 Warhounds and 5 Knights). I'm sure to pick this set up in the near future to thicken my core units.

So lets take a look at what that £22 spent has done to my fund.
  • Total income from sales (and my penny jar) £593.17
  • Less selling fees £41.39
  • Less models bought £537.12
  • New model fund £14.66
I'm still in profit.

That's great, but the disappointing thing is that I haven't managed to sell anything over the last couple of months. Of course this isn't helped by my hectic schedule but I had hoped to sell just two items a week consistently. That wouldn't have taken up too much of my precious time but it would have kept the pennies rolling in.

I won't be any less busy in the run up to Christmas but I will try to list a few things in order to save up for that battalion box. Alternatively, or in addition to that, I'll have to ask relatives to get me some models as Christmas presents, which won't count against my fund.

Righto, I'm off to a wedding...

Friday, November 7, 2008

PAINTING: Metal on Brass

First things first. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have already noticed that I have posted up my third and final game of The Gauntlet Tournament on my battle reports blog. If you haven't already read the report you can do so here. A tournament round up will follow.

I've been slow to flag this up, and indeed to add to this blog, because my time is so short. I am in the middle of working eleven consecutive days, I've just come off the back of seven nights out from eight and I'm also recovering from a heavy cold. But hey, I've accrued loads of overtime, Newcastle United won two games back to back, the Last Shadow Puppets were superb, my niece had a great birthday (as did my girlfriend's dad and Cheryl) and I'm feeling much better, thanks for asking.

In my last blog post I was wondering whether to paint my Brass Scorpion or my Warriors of Chaos army. I plumped for the Brass Scorpion as it's already built and undercoated and the WoC army isn't due out until the 19th November.

Or so I thought.

I went into Games Workshop to pick up the Lemartes figure I had ordered for the Gauntlet Tournament (you know, the one I went to two weeks ago) and discovered that the WoC was released on the 2nd.

And it was completely sold out in the store.

So I couldn't buy it.


So, like Bamber Gascoigne, I've started so I'll finish.

The Brass Scorpion is a huge model so I didn't know quite where to start. I had planned to fully paint each limb in turn and then finish the body but I accidentally put too much Boltgun Metal on my palette. Okay, so now I'm painting each colour over the whole model before moving onto the next colour.

Here's how the whole model currently looks.

Brass Scorpion/Praying Mantis stalk tank

I used a Citadel large brush to paint on the initial coat of Boltgun Metal. This was really far too large for some of the details I had to pick out but I sacrificed accuracy for the sake of speed. I figured I could tighten things up using the new GW washes.

Claw with wash and highlight

As you can see on the pics above and below the Badab Black has really added a lot of depth to the metallics. I have disabused myself of one misconception though; Games Workshop thinks it is almost impossible to put too much wash on a model - it is. I used the large brush to apply the wash and fairly slathered it on the metallics. On most things it didn't matter because the surrounding areas were black so the excess is invisible but on some of the larger metallic areas, like the claws, the wash has pooled like the old inks used to.

Unlike the old inks it has dried to a matte finish so I should be able to tidy them up easily. Either that or disguise them with some rust washes.

Scorpion Cannon

Because the metallics cover such an area of the model I decided to go back and highlight them with a mixture of Chainmail and Boltgun Metal. I wasn't going for anything too subtle here, but since painting my Blood Angels I have noticed how extreme highlights can bring a model to life.

It's far from my most accomplished work but I think the results so far are acceptable. I'm therefore drawing a line under the silvery metal and moving on to the brass/gold metal next.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

PAINTING: Painting pledge month 3

I've posted up my latest contribution to the Warseer Tale of 40k Painters painting pledge. Of course, anyone reading my blog gets to see the full bifta.

The unit I allocated to October was a 5 man Tactical squad, with Veteran Sergeant with Powerfist and a marine with a melta gun. Regular readers will know I also painted up 5 Death Company Marines and a Chaplain in time for the Gauntlet Tournament but for the purposes of the pledge I'll have to put them forward for the November's contribution.

4th squad 2nd Company

You can see the damage the frosted varnish has done to the models below.

Veteran Sergeant Caedes

Thanks to everyone who posted advice and tips on how to minimise the frosting. I brushed all the models down with a stiff brush and then re-varnished them (after warming up the can and shaking it for a looooong time). It's not as bad as it was, especially from a distance, but it's very noticeable close up.

Melta gun

The squad had mixed results in the tournament. In my first game they lost their powerfist and meltagun in quick succession and thus achieved little. In my second game they contributed to the death of a Daemon Prince and then claimed an objective. In the third they immobilised a Rhino with their shooting then destroyed it in an assault.

Mark VI Corvus armour

I really need to paint up the second combat squad of 5 marines to fill out the squad. Then I'll probably add a Rhino for some mobility.

Tactical marine

I'm not sure which heavy weapon to add to the unit. I have lots of missile launchers but do I pick something else for a bit of variety?

Tactical marine

Alternatively I could keep them in their Razorback for now and concentrate on getting some Assault Marines painted up instead.

Models painted by the end of month 3

By my reckoning I now have 595 points of Blood Angels painted up so I'm ahead of schedule. I'll have to work out how much the Death Company should cost for the challenge because in the game their cost is factored into the Tactical squads. Stiil, even if I count them as entirely free the Chaplain costs 135 points on his own.

Now I just need to decide what to paint over the next four weeks or so; Brass Scorpion or Warriors of Chaos.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

GENERAL: Analyze this

I've been writing up a lot of battle reports lately so they're at the forefront of my thoughts, and when I saw this post on The Warhammer Forum I had the answer already. The poster asks what he can do to turn around a losing streak. This was my answer:

The best thing you can do to turn around a losing record is to write up battle reports of all your games just after you've played them. It can take a bit of time but it really does make you analyze your list, your opponent's list and the tactics you used during the game.

After each report write down three things you'd change about the game if you could; it could be bringing different guns to take on particular units, having more mobility, attacking on a narrow front instead of table wide or going second instead of first.

After a few games I guarantee you'll spot a trend that you'll be able to correct by either adjusting your tactics or tweaking your army list.

One of the good things about 5th edition, I think, is that there are now a number of ways to play the same army differently. The variety of different missions and deployment types plus the control you have over reserves means you can radically change your army play style without changing a single model in your list.

Of course it's nice to be able to do something with those battle reports when you've spent all that time writing them which is the reason I have my battle reports blog.

The latest game I've just added is the second at The Gauntlet Tournament. Check it out here.