Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Not a 40k Blog

Right. So, I've not posted anything for some time... Simply put, this means that I haven't been working on my Eldar army of late. That's alright, because I can co-opt my own blog to talk about gaming in general.

What have I been doing? Well, a lot of reading and writing. I've been reading a lot of the older Sword and Sorcery authors. Conan and Elric of Melnobone have featured heavily. I have picked up Joe Abercrombie's newest book, Red Country, and must say that his momentum is simply astounding. He is a juggernaut in the world of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. His newest entry combines the Western genre with his established fantasy world, and while that seems rather jarring, Abercrombie's writing style lends itself very well to the mash up. His grit and visceral characterization is a boon to the legacy that he attempts to honor in Red Country.

Also, I picked up an anthology called Swords and Dark Sorcery, which has been middling thus far. Some interesting nuggets to be found among several outings into already established settings. I've not read The Black Company yet, but if the short story in this anthology is any indication, I may have a hard time getting through it.

But the reason I've been delving into these ancient and hallowed tomes is that I have decided to start writing for my own homebrew Sword and Sorcery setting again. I have called it several things throughout it's storied history, but the name that most of my friends would recognize is Shae Dinar. It's named after the desert continent that had featured heavily in the last epic campaign run in the setting.

But my vision is much broader than that. And since I'm not really motivated to paint or assemble my 40k army, I will post some updates here.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Eldar War Walkers

I figured I should post something quick before the month is out. So, in honor of the release of 6th edition, I have decided to build and paint a squadron of Eldar War Walkers!

Holy flash! The canopies will eventually be edged in black like all of my canopies.
I'm still getting used to the camera on this phone, so the flash ended up drowning out a lot of the work I did on the wraithbone carapace, but in all, I'm pretty happy with the end result.

I found these a lot easier to assemble than the Wraithlord, and that had a lot to do with the fact that I didn't need to glue the legs permanently. In fact, on the last walker, I started basing by gluing a single foot to the base, and adjusting from there.

A selection of my favorite Eldar weaponry on display for your approval.
Now, how to field the damned things... Back in 3rd Edition (the edition I played for the longest), I fought tyranids most regularly, so I was very fond of scatter lasers, which, back in the day, used to roll D6 each to determine how many shots. It was great for mowing through a brood of termagants/hormagants. They've since standardized the rate of fire to a slightly above average 4. Still a formidable weapon against the horde, but I think I would probably go with EML if I were to fight tyranids today. Starcannon spam for the Space Marines, of course.

So, fully loaded these three bastards weigh in at a cool 255 (including spirit stones), and make a fine fire base for your Eldar army, but probably not unless you are playing around the 1750+ range, or fighting against an army that can't shoot back.

So, 6th edition is released tomorrow, and god willing it will be the edition that supersedes 3rd Ed. as my most played system. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wraithlords and Wave Serpents

It's been some time, but I assure you, progress has been made! 

I've finally busted open my Battleforce and assembled and painted the Wave Serpent. Well, it's not all the way painted... It still needs another light brushing of Bleached Bone and I need to touch up the black as well as trace the lines with Devlan Mud, but I'm gonna be proud anyway.

The gun mounts are all magnetized (including the under-belly).
As you can see, there is still plenty of slop on this bad-boy to be cleaned up. I am also not completely decided on the fins. My original plan was to do them in wraitbone as well, but I wonder if I shouldn't leave them black.

Magnetizing everything was fairly easy, but plenty tedious. Having learned quite a bit during the process of retrofitting my older models with magnets, I've found a system that I think works rather well. Instead of worrying too much about the polarity of the magnets (I still pay some attention) I actually cut the heads from some cheap finishing nails in order to make all of the weapons ferrous. So the mounts have the magnets, and the weapons have just a bit of metal to make them magnetic
So are the shields on the sides of the mount.
The Wraithlords are somewhat trickier to magnetize, just because of the wide selection of weapons they have available. Nevertheless, each Wraithlord has a magnet in both shoulder mounts, each forearm, and on the wrist of the right hand, in order to accommodate the Wraithsword.

I'm not sure how I am going to field these guys yet. I mean, they have the potential to be pretty mean in CQC, as they are Monstrous Creatures, but they make pretty good mobile fire bases as well. I can arm them with a Missile Launcher, a Scatter-Laser/Shuriken Catapult and two Flamers each... That would be pretty expensive, of course, but something to consider.

Dueling Wraithlords!
On the other hand, I can leave them bare-bones and field a cheap but evil hand-to-hand monster. But enough about the tactics, lets talk about the painting!

I love this model. I love it so much that I was really afraid to start painting it. It took me purchasing a second Lord to give me the courage I needed to start painting the first one. Like the Serpent, they still need a good amount of work done on them.

One of the things I would really like to do (and get right) is decal application. I want my army to really scream ULTHWE! So, I want to put an Eye of Isha on each of their groin plates(?). Also I would like them to sport the Wraithlord "infinity" emblem on their heads.

I took the time to really spruce up the bases of both Lords. I particularly like the way the one on the right turned out, for having so much "clutter" on the base. But, the bases are identical, so in order to really make them look different, I felt the need to throw a bunch of junk on righty's base.

I still have a few concerns about my Ulthwe paint scheme. For instance, should I add more colors to the weapons? Should I find a way to work either red or yellow into the scheme overall, or try to keep it simple.

As it stands, I like the way the scheme looks on the vehicles, but I still have doubts about the appearance of the infantry and Wraithlords...

That's all for now. Hopefully it won't be too long before I post again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Empires in Decline

So, with all of the hubbub about new editions, I got to thinking about 2nd edition. The rule set that introduced me to the 40k universe, and of course, the Eldar. When I look at the cover art for the 100 pg 2nd edition Codex: Eldar, I still feel the same excited tingle I felt when a friend in high school first showed me a Space Marine terminator.

Look at the colors! I mean, have you ever seen a Swooping Hawk so heroically displayed? And when's the last time a Pheonix Lord was given a color plate? It all just looks so damned exciting!

Look at him. Completely unaware of the god-awful movie being made in his name...
And that's only the beginning. 2nd edition 40k was a different beast entirely from her streamlined and "tournament friendly" descendants. Each army book was a set of rules unto it's own. Sure there was a main book... And the Dark Millennium boxed set, which contained all of the information you needed to include (gasp) psychers in your army! But the Codex: Eldar traced the blueprints of an alien race so utterly different from what the lowly Terran mind could fathom, that the blunt and primitive rules used by the Imperium of Man were simply insufficient for their purposes.

Let me explain... You know how shooting works, right? You take your BS, compare it to a chart, and roll dice against a target number (modified by range and wargear in 2nd Ed.) to see how many shots hit... Right? Not for the Warp Spiders! No! They roll a D6 for every model caught in the flame template. If it equals or exceeds INI, it's auto death! If a 6 is rolled. DEATH! If you make your armor save??? DEEEAAATTHH!!!

Not really... But even if you make your armor save, you are pinned (and incidentally, are auto hit by any other death spinners that might be aimed at you...)

I thought you'd be taller...
To be sure, this is cheese, in the parlance of our time. It's "beardy." It's broken. It's also incredibly entertaining. I'm no math hammer expert, but I DID play the squad constantly. And in my experience, they were feared. Not because of how many Marines they could kill in any given round (some...), but because the rules represented something from out of the warp. Some un-tread upon territory into which no man could sanely walk. What ARE these damned aliens? What WONDERFUL toys they have! Quickly, rally and destroy them utterly before that shambling mass of molten metal reaches our lines! (The Avatar once had 7 wounds... SEVEN!)

The rules once conveyed a narrative (what some derisively refer to as "fluff") that "tournament friendly" rules never will. They were unbalanced. The 5th edition rules, too, are unbalanced. But in such a way that leaves some amount of, if not entertainment, then wonder, left on the sideline.

I am aware that nostalgia has a disproportionately powerful effect on reality, and I don't think that the rules themselves were better then than they are now. The Codices ought to be updated. The rules rewritten to be more playable. More clearly stated. More fun. And I think it's good that things have gone they way they have; in the direction of tournament play versus the play for fun's sake that had birthed the game industry. It's good because it shows us how the rules we use define not only how we play the game, but in what manner.

Tournament play gets ugly. How utterly in defiance of fun is it to have a single viable way to play one's army, lest they fall prey to the thrashing of a lifetime. And more importantly, it sours the milk of the industry. I'm not trying to marginalize competitive players. If you are having fun with the game, that's a win for everyone. But I am suggesting that competitive play shouldn't be the primary concern of a set of rules.

That's not to say I don't want balance. I'm not in favor of super armies, with super rules, and second class "hobby armies" whose players never knew they were signing up to play an army that simply wasn't designed to ever win a game. I am in favor of a set of rules that panders to the heart of the player. Rules that aren't sufficient to get you through a tournament, but which are an exemplar of exciting play. Rules that reflect a desire to please the gamer in the deepest, most satisfying way.

If only they could shoot as well as a Space Marine, this might be true.
I want the narrative and the rules to share the same pedestal. OR rather, I want the rules to spawn a new generation of Eldar Addicts. Of zealous Space Marines. Of ravenous hordes of Tyranids. I don't want future generations of gamers to fall in love with the back story of an army, only to be ambushed in the rules section of the codex by a set of vanilla, edgeless crunch which is merely sufficiently balanced.

Any step towards making our game to suit our passion, not the other way around, is one in the right direction.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ulthwe brand Aspect Warriors... And a Mounted Warlock

Somewhere near the Eye of Terror, where the hell of the Warp meets the material realm, one man struggles to muster the forces of  the craftworld Ulthwe.

Here is the minor conversion work I have done to seat a warlock on a jetbike. The hardest part was trying to get an even cut under the torso that A) wouldn't look silly, and B) would be able to be glued to the guardian legs I had available. Apart from that, it was pretty easy. A pin keeps the torso on the legs, and some small pin work keeps the Singing Spear in it's dynamic pose, and safe(er) from being snapped off in the heat of battle. Or more likely, the heat of transport...

Next we have the Ulthwe brand Howling Banshees! I'm damned happy about how this scheme works for them. There is still some touch up work to be done (of course), but this was a great leap forward in my Aspect Warrior paint-scheme decision making process.

I especially like the way the hair turned out. That is P3 "Skorn Red" with an red ink wash. I like it shiney!

Finally, we have the Swooping Hawks... I am happy with the way the bleached bone looks on the wings, but I am at complete loss as to where to fit in some accent to designate their loyalty to the Aspect Shrine. My brother suggested just painting some of the cloth hanging from their belts, or their spirit stones blue... Thoughts? Seems like too little, but what can you do?

So that's what I managed to pull off since last night. I have started work on the seer council and Warp Spiders. I will get you some pics when I have them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Aspect Warriors and the Question of Army Unity

My guardians still need some detail work and basic touch ups, so I will be working on them over the next week or so. But my next major project for Ulthwe's War Host is to give a new snazzy paint scheme to my aspect warriors... I don't like the idea of Rainbow Eldar, wherein all of the components of your army are wildly different colors, so I am trying to put an Ulthwe twist on all of my aspects. Bone and black are are the primary colors, and then I throw in a color associate with the Aspect Shrine just to remind everyone that they are aspect warriors...

So far I have finished 7/7 howling banshees. They have black armor, with bone helms, sashes and pistols. For their wavy hair I used Skorn red with a red ink. It makes for a really striking combo. I'll post some pics when I get them touched up. I want to start work on the swooping hawks and warp spiders next, but the Hawks have me stumped. I have an idea of how to get the Ulthwe colors in (black armor, of course, with bone helms, wings, and guns.) but no clue as to where to put any sort of white or blue (the aspect colors). I really like where I have placed the Craftworld colors, so I might just forego an aspect coloration altogether. But this makes me sad... Maybe I can just pick a shoulder pad or something to paint differently...

I will put up some pics of the models tomorrow. I'm getting too tired to keep it up for much longer tonight.

If you made it to the end, thanks for reading!

The rise of the Guardians


I have successfully painted EVERY Guardian that I have and intend to field... YEAH! Though they still need lots of little touch ups... But the hard work is DONE!