Saturday, 9 June 2018

Genestealer Cults limitations leak

Standard leak disclaimer: this could be fake. This could be meaningless. As real as the thing looks a fake like this is only a modicum of photoshop skill away. Also, sorry about the poor quality of the image, literally the best version I could find was on a Youtube video.
Here's the deal: instead of using allied detachments for some units and “Cult” versions of others from now on Genestealer Cults will just use selected datasheets from Codex: Astra Militarum and just replace the REGIMENT keyword with the BROOD BROTHERS keywork. For those using screen readers or unable to read the tiny, indistinct text the Astra Militarum units you can take are as follows:

Company Commander
Platoon Commander
Command Squad
Tank Commander
Infantry Squad
Special Weapons Squads
Scout Sentinels
Armoured Sentinels
Leman Russ Battle Tanks
Chimera APCs

On the one hand its not everything, which is effectively what you could take before now (or, rather, anything with the ASTRA MILITARUM keyword). Its also more than could be taken in a pure Genestealer Cults list.

Do I like it? Hell yes. There's Company Commanders, Platoon Commanders and Tank Commanders on that list which means Orders are now something Genestealer Cults can use. I am heartily looking forward to giving certain opponents a heavy dose of Front Rank, Fire! Back Rank, Fire! We now have access to Veteran Squads for some extra heavy fire power, as well.

Yes, there are gaps. I'm a little surprised Heavy Weapons Squads aren't on the list and I would have liked to see Hellhounds because I like Hellhounds. However, I get why even some of the more basic stuff had to be left out.

You can't take Regimental benefits because BROOD BROTHERS replaces rhe REGIMENT keyword, for instance, so as good as it is to have orders and Veterans and Special Weapons Squads you can't buff them further than their base statistics. Similarly, I get why the full spread of tanks and the more elite infantry are out of bounds: Astra Militarum needs to have things that make them superior to Genestealre Cults just as Genestealer Cults have things that make them superior to Astra Militarum.

At the end of the day, if Genestealer Cults could take everything Astra Militarum can take then there's no point in having Astra Militarum.

And I like the humble Imperial Guard, I want them to keep having a point.

Am I saying people shouldn't be annoyed about this? Not entirely. The way this concept was introduced in the Index allowed you to use anything with the ASTRA MILITARUM keyword so I imagine a lot of players are looking at some units that are not quite game legal anymore. I know I have two Hellhounds I can't use for my Cults anymore and I'm just lucky that my Brood Brothers units also happen to be my Savlar Chem-Dogs army.

On its own, though, in the abstract I do like this rule and look forward to the tactical opportunities it opens up.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Twelfth Doctor Adventures 1.1: The Lost Sailor (fan audio review)

(A quick preface before we begin: a big part of this review and a big USP for this series is that the new companion, Antonia Perkins, is trans. Your humble blogger here is cis and I just want to put that out there so readers know specifically where I'm coming from in reviewing this character and how she is written. Antonia identifies as female and she/her pronouns are used to describe her in the series' website copy. Any language mistakes contained in this post are most likely mine, are not mean as any form of disrespect and will be corrected accordingly when pointed out.)

SPOILERS: specific details of plot and how the story resolves are absent from this review but its impossible to discuss Antonia without some plot stuff, mainly things that happen in the first half of the episode.

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Adventures
episode one: The Lost Sailor
written by Janine Rivers

starring Paul Cabria as the Doctor
and Michelle Coats as Antonia

Its been a long time since I dipped my toe into the world of unofficial fan produced Doctor Who content (official fan produced content encompassing rather a lot including the TV series itself these days) and I'm old enough to remember the days of “not Doctor Who, honest guv” audio series like The Stranger, The Professor & Ace and The Wanderer. This series, being completely free and thus not for profit in any way, gets to call itself Doctor Who and use all the bells and whistles from the show it wants.

For one thing there's the Twelfth Doctor, played with uncanny precision of impersonation by Paul Cabria. I know its traditional in these circumstances to say you were fooled but I really do mean it is uncanny how similar the voice is. This isn't the audio equivalent of Richard Hurndall in a wig, this isn't even just a really good soundalike performance like Tim Treloar's Big Finish Third Doctor, this is a spot on impression of Capaldi's every verbal mannerism. The performance is helped by the writing, including the Doctor affirming respect for Antonia's gender identity in a speech very reminiscent of his assurance to Bill that she's safe in the TARDIS and always will be in The Pilot.

I guess now is about as good a time as any to address Antonia Perkins. How well or how sensitively her identity is handled is definitely better left to other writers with more stake in the issue than my cis ass but what I will say is that her treatment is interesting.

For one thing she does have to explain what being trans means to the Doctor which takes a moment but the Doctor does get it very quickly, reiterating that the Time Lords don't really have much of a concept of gender. On the other hand, by the time the subject comes up the pair are in 1985 and how this change will effect Antonia's personal safety flat out does not occur to the Doctor. Whilst I'm trying to comment as little as possible on Antonia's more trans-specific issues and experiences I have to say, as someone of an age with Antonia who resides elsewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum there is a certain very immediate terror to the idea of finding myself back in Thatcher's Britain. Its an idea that has enough broad resonance for people across the spectrum and even the densest of straight allies that it can have the maximum impact on the broadest cross section of the audience whilst still being very specifically tied to her particular identity.

Antonia's other unique selling point is that she's an aspiring writer lacking inspiration. Several early segments of the story have her narrating her work in progress and giving up in frustration. Again, this is a trait with broad appeal as I think everyone who has ever tried to write anything can relate. Other than that her main claim to fame amongst modern companions is that she has a decent relationship with both her parents which I'm glad of because, oh boy, could we do with the plague of bad parental figures Doctor Who has been dropping in since RTD not continuing with the first (albeit unofficial) trans companion. That isn't to say such a storyline would be without merit just that I think its something that can be done without especially so hot on the heals of Moira and Bill's relationship.

A queer character having two accepting parents is a subversion of expectations in itself and I'm glad to see it for once.

A large part of the early story, the getting to know you phase, is spent with the Doctor directing Antonia by phone as she searches for the TARDIS. The two talk about a lot of things, the Doctor slowly letting her in on just what a weird situation he's dragging her into and bonding over both shared and different experiences. One of the similar experiences they bond over, in fact, is the idea of choosing one's own name. As with many a modern companion introduction the story starts off with her and is moderated mainly from her point of view and, let's face it, that's a format that works.

I am absolutely on board with seeing where these two travel next.

The series will be twelve episodes long, each running about the length of a typical modern TV episode and will be released weekly on Saturdays from the series' website here. Download is free and the series is not for profit and unaffiliated with the BBC.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Some finished models and a goal for June

During my recent hiatus I had a chance to knuckle down and get some serious hobbying done. It was one of those moments when I really got into the zone and ended up actually getting a decent amount done. So much so that if I did individual pictures even for the units we'd be here for ages and I really want to just quickly showcase the miniatures and move on to my little hobby goal for the month.
So, to start off with there is this veritable Imperial Soup of things for the Deathwatch and their associated allied detachments. Starting from the left side of the picture and moving anti-clockwise we have a Company Commander and Command Squad for the 322nd Savlar Chem Dogs made out of Cadians with the Genestealer Cults upgrade sprue (the foreheads cunningly filed down to remove the more overt signs of mutation). As it happens this army will be performing double duties as an allied detachment for my Genestealer Cults army down the line but that's neither here nor there. Next up we have two HQ choices for the Deathwatch itself: Captain Lucius Almas of the Angels Of Vengeance and Codicier Trayvon Delios of the Blood Ravens. On the far right we have Magos-Dominus Narses Hood (yes, not just a joke name, a pretentious joke name!) of Stygies VIII, overall commander of the Watch-Fortress' Mechanicus contingent. Finally, at the back we have the first of my Deathwatch Venerable Dreadnoughts, a charming fellow by the name of Antigeminus, late of the Omega Marines chapter.

As well as that little lot I also completed two six-man Kill-Teams. First up is Kill-Team Fury under Watch-Sergeant Varil Marak:

From left to right on the line-up we have Marines from the Fire Lords, Flesh Tearers, Consecrators, Brazen Minotaurs, Iron Hands and Subjugators chapters kitted out with long range firepower. By contrast, Kill-Team Mortis under Watch-Sergeant Zauriel (yes, I have a favourite Justice League run, why do you ask?) is geared more towards close range firepower and assault:

From left to right: Libators, Dark Angels, Carmine Blades, Sons of Medusa, Iron Snakes and Sons of Dorn (that last one modified slightly because there is no way I have the skill to freehand a circle, let alone a white circle).


The Goal

Since the New Year I've been keeping a little hobby diary and it informs me that with these models I have painted 78 miniatures this year. My goal for the month is to bring this to a nice round hundred or (fingers crossed) beyond before we enter the second half of the year.

My challenge to myself from there is to see if I can do even better in the second half of the year. This is already the most productive my hobby has been in a long time and I've been carrying that energy over into other aspects of my life. Its genuinely been a positive experience.

So, twenty-two models to go. Sitting here looking at the rambling excesses of the work in progress shelf, which has seen some reinforcements as I look through boxes for things to finish, I see three Kataphron Destroyer;, that bloody Cryptek that I still haven't finished; three Raveners; ten Skitarii Vanguard; another Venerable Dreadnought; six Poxwalkers; ten Genestealer Cults Hybrid Neophytes as well as a Magos and a Primus. More than enough to be getting on with although looking at my hobby diary I notice just how few Fantasy miniatures I've painted this year (a mere six Skinks) and feel the need to redress the balance somewhat.

Anyway, twenty-two models minimum in the next four weeks. Doable, especially with so many half-complete ones to chip away at.

Then the real fun of exceeding the record begins...

Friday, 1 June 2018

Comic Reviews

This week Brian Michael Bendis gets a third chance to make a first impression; Judge Dredd penetrates Patrick Swayze; and, Jean Grey does some family visiting.

Spoilers below...

Man of Steel #1

Okay, cards on the table: I have a huge writer crush on Brian Michael Bendis. When I was getting back into comics after an absence of years it was his Daredevil that drew me in. Between that and Ultimate Spider-Man it was clear that this was a writer with a real love and appreciation for the characters he was handling, one who knew where to modernise and where to leave well alone for the benefit of continuity.

So now he's writing Superman. Now, there's no one more skeptical of nostalgia than me. I know its a drug, I know its a con half the time but damn me if this isn't Superman exactly as I remember the character. Bendis plays it smart, intercutting his bold new take on the “true reason” Krypton was destroyed with a very conscious greatest hits reel to assure people that this is their (and their father's and their grandfather's Superman). We see him swoop In to the rescue a couple of times, once with supervillains and once with an apartment building fire and all with that very earnest honesty about him even when he's being sarcastic.

I am also very, very glad to see that Jon continues to exist. Not that I thought he was going away, exactly, but more than I suspected Bendis might ignore the boy's existence between the very iconic and classic feel of things (down to the red shorts) and the plotline from the DC Nation one-shot about Lois not being at the Planet anymore.

If there's one thing Bendis seems absolutely determined on its that Superman is a reported above all else. Even when he's rescuing people from the burning building he's thinking about how this rash of electrical fires came about. Arson? Bad city planning? Ordinances that aren't up to scratch?

Its been a long time since a version of Superman grabbed me this quickly. I'm not saying its been all doom and gloom before now (Patrick Gleason's run on Superman stands out in my mind as a great recent series) but this just perfectly captures what I love about the character.

Judge Dredd: Under Siege #1

So, for a while people have been telling me that the American Judge Dredd comics from IDW aren't the disaster one would assume them to be. Not to insult anyone of a Yankish persuasion reading this but American fans (and most comic authors are fans these days) tend to not get that Dredd is meant to be funny. In fairness, a worrying number of British fans don't get this either nowadays but that's a rant for another day.

Reading this I'm trying to remind myself that this is by no means the first series IDW has put out and the conspicuous similarities to Dredd (2012) are probably a one off. Like the film (which I adore) we have a situation where two Judges are trapped in a giant apartment building with enemies on the top floors and a control room to be taking control of on the other side of the baddies.

In this case Dredd has been sent in to Patrick Swayze Block to locate Judge Beeny (presumably this story is set some time before she became a member of the Council Of Five) who went missing when the block went off the comms grid when she was meant to be doing a routine school visit.

Beeny is actually a character I have a lot of time for: a young, idealistic Judge who was the daughter of anti-Judge activists and one of the few reformers Dredd has ever been seen to so much as give the time of day. If nothing else I look forward to her and Dredd interacting across this series even if, sadly, the plot looks like one I've been through before just with slightly different villains. Who knows, though? Time will tell.

X-Men Red Annual #1

Even four issues into the main series, I'm still cautious about X-Men Red. Its not that its bad, its certainly entertaining, but the sticking point for me is that its essentially a Jean Grey series. I don't like Jean Grey much. Over the last few years the teenage version that's been running around has softened my view of her and I think its just the Ms. Perfect version that everyone idolises that gets my back up and Taylor seems smart enough not to push that angle too much. Jean in this series is definitely the same woman with the same formidable reputation but more conscious of her flaws.

Anyway, the annual is basically the story of what Jean did just after her resurrection, in spite of the whole of the rest of the team being on the cover, and is a pretty personal story only connected to the Red team by featuring Jean's first meeting with Laura and Gabby.

The long and the short of it: not much happens here but fluff and then of Jean's emotional journey is basically just to put her where we say her in #1. That said having been said: ain't nothing wrong with fluff, especially fluff that has Jean and Rachel interact like family for practically the first time ever. Plus, any issue with Gabby in it is definitely worth at least a look.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The Triumvirate of Watch-Fortress Rubicon

Triumvirates were an interesting thing I wish had survived into 40k 8th edition. Those were nice box sets and I genuinely wonder what might have been achieved if we'd seen the idea continue. My own fantasy booking for them would be a Triumvirate Of Chaos with Abaddon, Zaraphiston and some sort of enormous new Daemon Prince (or Primarch Lorgar who I imagine would be smaller than Magnus and Mortarion).

Anyway, considering that I've now decided to fold in my Mechanicus with my Deathwatch I've decided to build a Triumvirate of my own to represent the different factions present at Rubicon Command.

First up will, of course, be the Deathwatch Watch-Master, commanding officer of the fortress. This model will absolutely just be straight out of the clampack with no conversions other than, maybe, a chapter shoulder pad because I absolutely adore the model.

Second will the leader of the Mechanicus delegation who will either be a converted Magos Dominus or a converted Belisarius Cawl. Whichever model I use I want to add xenotech components to it to represent the heresy that Stygies VIII keep getting in trouble for.

And finally, a model that I don't even know what I'll use as the base for conversion: the Ordo Xenos Inquisitor assigned to the fortress. Background has changed over the years so now the Deathwatch co-operate with the Ordo Xenos rather than being the ordo's chamber militant. I actually prefer this version of the background, if I'm being honest, but I definitely think the ordo would have some sort of presence even if only as a liaison officer. So my Xenos Inquisitor Laurento Hex, one of my oldest 40k characters, will find himself and his retinue assigned to Rubicon Command and incarnated in a brand new model.

I just have to work out what he's going to look like.

Monday, 14 May 2018

The Sprawl Addressed (finished models)

I looked at my hobby diary before writing this and it turns out I haven't finished a model since the 6th of March. No wonder I needed a week of intensive hobbying to get myself back in the groove. Admittedly, I didn't get anywhere near finishing the small legion of models on the mantelpiece but plenty did get done. I started last week with thirty-one models and I finished sixteen. That is not bad, especially as one of them is a Lord Of War choice (admittedly one of the smaller ones, but still).

What's more they're all for the same project: the many headed beast of detachments that is my Deathwatch army.

First up we have Kill-Team “Omen” (Rubicon Command, Watch Company Primus, First Squad) under Sergeant Mori Pellos of the Star Phantoms:

The chapters, from left to right, are the Dark Hands, Star Phantoms, Exorcists, Black Dragons, Angels Sanguine and Marines Malevolent (the Marine Malevolent was already painted and is just joining his completed squad here). Basically, I wanted to make a team composed of some of the less trustworthy chapters in the Imperium simply because the shoulder pads in the official kit tend more towards the upstanding and heroic sorts (plus the Dark Angels). I particularly enjoyed the chance to include a mutated Space Marine in the form of the Black Dragon with his horned head (taken from the Chaos Space Marine Raptors kit, by the way).

For anyone wondering, the shoulder pads come from the online store of Shapeways trader POP Goes The Monkey. They're 3D-printed and require a little cleaning before painting (hence why the paint looks a little thick on these ones, I didn't know that when I started them). As you can see, the detail fidelity is fantastic even if some striations from the printing process remain visible through the paint.

Also for the main body of the Deathwatch detachment itself is Terminator Kill-Team “Gauntlet” (Watch Company Secundus, First Squad) under Sergeant Dane Ixion of the Minotaurs:

The chapters from the line-up, left to right, are: Red Hunters, Brazen Skulls, Dark Hunters, Minotaurs and Angels Of Redemption. Again, shoulder pads from POP.

I also finished the first unit for my Adeptus Mechanicus detachment which will operate as allies (...ish) to the Deathwatch of Rubicon Command.

I've painted these Sicarians in the red armour and black robes of Stygies VIII, a Forge World often censured by Mars for an unhealthy interest in xenotech. Rubicon Command uses them for technical analysis and fabrication and the Stygies mob use the Deathwatch to get their hands on all sorts of proscribed alien technology.

And, finally, the big fella: an Imperial Knight Armiger Waglaive from House Cadmus:

I'll be honest, the main reason I picked this colour scheme was because it was simple. I do like the House's background which mainly revolves around them being effectively mounted hunters more than mechanised heraldic knights but the fact I could use two principal colours (silver and camo green) with just a little yellow and black mixed in for variety. Whether I'll have them siding with the Mechanicus in my background or standing for good (… ish) Imperial values I've yet to decide. Cadmus aren't linked with Stygies VIII in the background, their local forge world is/was Gryphonne IV which is convenient since that world and an awful lot of Cadmus Knights fell to the Tyranids.

All in all, not a bad week's work.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Addressing the hobby sprawl

My works in progress are sprawling again. As I write this half-finished models occupy pretty much the entire length of the mantelpiece, a mismatched combination of Deathwatch, Mechanicus and one very lonely Necron. To be specific:

1x Deathwatch Librarian
1x Deathwatch Terminator Watch-Captain
5x Deathwatch Kill-Marines
6x Deathwatch Terminators

1x Necron Cryptek

1x Magos Dominus
10x Skitarii Vanguard
5x Sicarian Ruststalkers
1x Knight Armiger

That's too much. That's dispiritingly too much and just looking at it has been a roadblock on my hobby for the last couple of weeks. So, to address this: method and reward.

The method, going against a lifetime of habit, will be to concentrate on one thing at a time. Instead of trying to address the sprawl in its entirety or as a couple of units in one go I'm going to take one unit or character down at a time and concentrate on finishing that one thing before moving on to anything else.

As to reward: for every unit I finish between now and next Sunday, I get a “cheat” on my resolution to not buy any models until I've finished painting my Forgebane set.

Thirty-one models and seven days. Let's see how I do...

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Reading Tea Leaves: Forge World discontinuations

The other day the hobby side of the internet exploded with the news that Forge World had shifted all their Horus Heresy Legion upgrade sets to Last Chance To Buy. To the look of it they've taking the entire range out of production including the extremely recent Space Wolves upgrades.

Oddly, this happened with not a word from Forge World.

I'm actually quite happy to say I find that odd now. Once upon a time this lack of communication was the norm for Games Workshop but they've got a lot better in recent years. Still, this is not a good look. We don't know what this means.

The most optimistic outlook would be that the main design studio are taking over the project and we're eventually going to get all these sets (or equivalents) in plastic. Its certainly possible but it seems odd to take it all out of production in one go. This is six pages of products all going Last Chance To Buy in one go, they represent almost every legion and effectively an entire game system of product. That's a big release schedule of upgrade sets for what is essentially a very large specialist game system and I'm not sure I see the logic of taking it all out of production in one go instead of staggering it to meet a plastic release schedule.

Then there's the pessimistic outlook: its the end of Horus Heresy as a supported system. Again, it could happen. If Fantasy can go then Horus Heresy can go. I'm not sure that I buy into that scenario, either. By all accounts its Forge World's biggest seller which is certainly supported by how much stuff they've released for it.

Then again, it might be a matter of cost. GW are not exactly unknown for pricing themselves out of the market. Even with the plastic Horus Heresy Space Marines a single unit of ten miniatures fully customised is extremely expensive. An upgrade set of ten torsos and ten shoulder pads comes in at £33 plus the price of the actual marines. Maybe its just that the sets themselves aren't selling.

Maybe its third parties. Forge World products are expensive and suffer from infamously poor quality control. Forge World resin is fragile, it takes ages to clean, and there is absolutely zero chance it won't arrive with at least a few parts distorted possibly even beyond use. Third party stuff, I'm sorry to say, usually has better quality control and that's just a fact.

So, maybe its a problem with Forge World itself losing out to third parties who provide the same parts with better quality control and no greater barrier of inconvenience since both involve ordering online. Maybe Forge World is just reducing its production base as they move more into the Specialist Games line.

Regardless of reason, however, its a shitty move not to communicate what's going on. This is a game system that, almost by necessity, involves a huge financial investment from the player as well as the sheer time-consuming inconvenience of working with FW resin. Making this huge reduction in range and not communicating to what extent the sky is falling is a dick move I thought Games Workshop had developed beyond, I really did.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Deathwatch Mission Tactics

I love the Deathwatch but one thing I've learnt through bitter, bitter experience is that they absolutely need to do as much damage at range as possible. Once your enemy closes with you and starts causing casualties its basically over for that unit. The battlefield efficiency of a Kill-Team drops drastically with the death of each and every marine.

There's been a lot of speculation the last few weeks on the Deathwatch Facebook group I'm a part of about how the new Codex might combat this. Top of the wish list for most were either better special issue ammunition or some sort of invulnerable save.

As it turns out there is at least one new special issue ammunition type available in the stratgems but the big idea the design team has had is Mission Tactics.
The basic idea here is to choose a type of unit (Troops, Fast Attack and so on) and for the duration of the game most everything in the army (infantry, bikes and Dreadnoughts) re-rolls 1s to wound against the type. There is a Warlord Trait and an item that allow you to change the Mission Tactic mid-game.

Obviously, I'll have to see how it works in game but this is probably the best solution to the problem. Deathwatch excel in shooting and have a slight weakness in combat because of their small numbers (more in the taking casualties area than the number of attacks area, obviously). This boosts the shooting and helps out with the combat problem, making them better at the thing they're meant to be amazing at and papers over one of the few real the army has.

I am very much looking forward to road testing this codex.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Hobby Goals for May

Build Forgebane

I definitely need to build these models. I've been painting the first of the Armigers and the Cryptek for the last week and its lit a fire under me to work on these factions. Unfortunately, those aren't just the only models I've been painting they're the only ones from the set I've even built.

Time to get a little construction going.

Decide what I want to do for Necrons

Between my own Forgebane and the Necron half I bought cheap off a friend who just wanted the Mechanicus models, I have the basis for a decent size Necron army. I just need to make a few decisions. My own colour tests having failed I've fallen back on the utterly gorgeous Novokh Dynasty colour scheme so that's decided (and oh so easy to paint).

For a start I need to decide what to do with all those multi-purpose kits. Two units of Immortals with different weapons load outs or one of Immortals and one of Deathmarks? Triarch Praetorians or Lychguard or both?

So, I need to go through the Codex to see what the Novokh background suggests and how their bespoke faction rules work and prepare an army list.

Finish something for the Deathwatch

I have a lot of things just sitting half-finished for my Deathwatch and there's a new Codex on the way. It would be nice to have a thing or two battle ready when that drops.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

This Week's Project: Baldrick 40,000

I said before that I was going to clear the backlog a bit by not buying any new models umtil I'd painted the contents of Forgebane. In my defence I have been a good boy and held to that. The case for the prosecution is that so far my progress on Forgebane has been to basecoat the Cryptek. The bugger of it all is that as soon as I swore off buying new models I found myself really, really inspired towards the Deathwatch and now I desperately want to buy more Kill-Teams.

So I need to make headway on Forgebane. This week's project, therefore, is to build and paint one of the Knight Armigers aka the models I bought this set for in the first place.

As to colour scheme: I spent a while trying to come up with my own colour scheme but, ultimately, nothing I scribbled down appealed to me as much as the deep forest green of House Cadmus:
I know I'm usually one for bold, bright colour schemes but I like the moody shade of green and how it contrasts both with the black and the brighter yellow. I just like green in general, really, and it'll make a nice change from the endless sea of black and red I've been painting recently.

I also like their background. Their homeworld of Raisa is infested with Beastmen and every year the Knights gather together, get into their war machines and engage in a huge cull. The knight who makes the most kills becomes the leader of the household for the next year. They also have a convenient xenos-related grudge having lost the better part of their fighting strength during the Tyranid invasion of Gryphonne IV which is useful for a force that will be allied to my Deathwatch, at least for the moment.

This will also be the first Lord Of War I've ever painted, a whole part of the game that I've been ignoring for editions opening up to me. Fun times.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Random catch-up musings (featuring Wrestlemania and Takeover spoilers)

Okay, its been a while so what we got?

Well, Wrestlemania happened and so did Takeover: New Orleans. One of these shows was better than the other. I was very down on Wrestlemania this year. The disappointment started early with Asuka losing her match and her undefeated streak. I genuinely thought they were going to have her win and do the Brock Lesnar thing and hold the title Wrestlemania to Wrestlemania and have her drop it to... oh, probably Bailey.

Instead they had Asuka lose to Charlotte and (to quote a favourite sentiment of Jim Cornette) I don't see where the money is in this? They have spent so much time investing Asuka's undefeated streak with the proper weight and mystique, they allowed it to run so long it long ago beat Bill Goldberg's all time record.

And then she loses on her first big-time match on main roster.

Where's the money? Where's the money in breaking her record for Charlotte who is already over, already respected and a multiple time title holder? It doesn't make sense to me.

And the hits kept on coming. Brock Lesnar's interminable part-time Universal Championship run lumbers on for reasons we discovered the next evening when Lashley made his triumphant return to Raw. I can only hope the rumours are wrong and Lesnar is going to drop at the Greatest Royal Rumble instead of making us wait for SummerSlam. Nakamura/Styles was somehow a lot less interesting than the famous match they had at Wrestle Kingdom a couple years back just before they jumped ship to WWE. I really thought that was going to be an all-time classic.

And I just cannot get over the whole bizarre scenario of hiring the most famous female combat athlete in the world and having her debut in a match against a semi-trained 41 year old mother of two featuring two semi-retired old men. Really, Triple H and Angle should have been their own nostalgia match and at least let Rousey's first match be all-women.

To be honest, the highlights of the night for me were Xavier Woods playing the Dragonzord theme and the Bludgeon Brothers winning the tag belts less because I love the Bludgeon Brothers (though I do) but because it finally ends the wretched and over-extended Usos/New Day feud.

Takeover, meanwhile, could not have been better. Worth the money I didn't pay for it (we use my housemate's Network account) for Gargano vs. Ciampa which ran just over half an hour and was amazingly intense. The Six-Man Ladder Match for the North American Championship was amazing and I swear I have never expected be so hyped for the introduction of a mid-card title.


On a happier note: Paige is the new General Manager of Smackdown Live! A female authority figure for Steph to bump up against. I know they want Rousey to be the female Stone Cold but I really think someone in a management position needs to exist who can stand up to her.

I also really hope this isn't just a stunt appointment for market Paige's biopic. I mean, obviously they're going to use it like that but I hope it outlasts the movie's release.


DC finally made announcements about the post-Metal Justice League comics beyond the No Justice stuff they already announced. There's a new Justice League Dark with Wonder Woman and Zatanna which is interesting but the real news for me is Justice League Odyssey which not only has Cyborg leading a team featuring Jessica Cruz and Starfire but its going to be drawn by Stjepan Sejic, the amazing artist of Sunstone and a recent really good run on Aquaman.


Roseanne came back and every time they interview John Goodman he looks like one of those hostages assuring their family they're fine and being fed and everyone is bein provided proper medical assistance. I grew up with that show and didn't know any of the stuff about Roseanne herself going a bit made and tyrannical towards the end of the original and now she's a bloody Pizzagate truther!

Oh, well, not like I'm starved for television I want to watch and keep not finding time for between the Arrowverse shows, the Marvel-Netflix stuff, Voltron: Legendary Defender, and that Lost In Space reboot.


So, the solo Flash movie that became a Flashpoint movie is now a solo Flash movie again because DC figured if they were going to make another shit movie they might as well make the version of it that doesn't basically require expensive guest stars.


I have developed a visceral hatred of Sam Ovens, a man who hawks business webinars in YouTube ads. Somehow I manage to get one of his ads on every video I watch and I watch a lot of stuff on YouTube. My only respite from his voice is the strange banjo accompanied adverts for toilet nowl nightlights.


Marvel's upcoming Death of the Inhumans event is coming in July. I don't care. I genuinely do not give a shit. I have tried to care about the Inhumans since Inhumans vs. X-Men. I read Royals, which was okay, and Black Bolt, which was great but as a larger concept I can't say they grab me at all. “The X-Men but even more uncomfortably eugenic” isn't that good a pitch and I can't say I'm surprised we've reached this point.


If this latest bullshit event has any negative consequences for Kamala Khan words will be had.


Donald Trump has decided to pick a fight with the US Post Office because he doesn't understand that Amazon's free delivery isn't free to Amazon. He genuinely seems to believe that Amazon just declares they aren't paying postage and gets away with it. Don't get me wrong, Amazon is pretty evil and I don't doubt this is something they'd try if they thought they had he chance but the simple reality that should be apparent to anyone with a functional reasoning brain (or a White House full of functional reasoning brains they can consult at any hour of the day or night) that Amazon pays the postage fees out of their profit on the sale.

And that's the only Donald Trump news I want to do in this one because its Trump and there's a scandal a day with that guy.

Hopefully he'll be impeached or do something to terminally disappoint his personality cult of heavily armed, emotionally unstable racial supremacists some of whom, I'm told, are very fine people.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Weekly War Report #7

This week I didn't have a chance to set up the gaming table and the scenery so its back to models floating in the void of time and space which does horible things to the focus of my camera at times, so apologies.

Anyway, this week has been all about the test models for Forgebane and much everything else has stayed in the work in progress case. First up we have the Necron Overlord...

he needs a lot of highlighting and some drybrushing but I'm happy with the general effects. The cape and scythe in particular, which are Stegadon Scale Green washed black and drybrushed with Thunderhawk Blue Dry Compound, is a nice effect that I think I'll try to replicate on vehicles and Canoptek units. I'm less happy with the brass effect on the backplate but since its another drybrush method it should improve with practice.

On the side, since I was doing repeated coats of Rakarth Flesh on the Overlord, I decided to do the same to some Dark Vengeance Deathwing Terminators I've had lying around for a while. As you can see they're only bone on one half, this is because the eventual plan is to do a small Angels of Redemption Deathwing army.

On the Mechanicus side I have rather more models lying around because I bought a bunch when they first came out and, being me, did very little with them after that. 

The Tech-Priest Dominus is the most complete, of course, since I'm testing out methods on him and then extending them to the other units. The silvers are the only block colour yet to do and then I can get to more shading and detail work. As you can see, I gave up on the Voss Prime colour scheme early on and switched to Stygies VIII. It wasn't even that Voss Prime's quartered red and yellow looked bad on the this model its just I couldn't work out how to extend the colour scheme to vehicles and servitor units.

Next we the Sicarian Ruststalkers who are a much, much better colour test for the Stygies VIII colour scheme because they have the blue undershirts on them that the Dominus lacks. They're coming along nicely though the Dominus taught me to hold off on the shading until all the block colours are done which is why it all looks so much brighter.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

I have nothing against Duncan Rhodes' face...

but, if we're being honest, it would be more useful to me if the WarhammerTV Tip Of The Day video thumbnails had pictures of the things being painted.

That having been said those videos are really helpful. One of the problems with printed painting guides is that they can't show you how to apply the paint. Games Workshop painting guides are especially bad for this since they describe about three different painting techniques as “layering”. Sometimes, especially when your eyesight isn't that good as in my case, it can be hard to tell if some of the more subtle differences in colour are actually layering or highlighting.

With a video, however, you can literally see how the paint is applied. I'm one of those people who learns best by watching and imitating. The most useful thing to me has actually been having a clear visual example of how much to thin my paints by and confirmation that the awful first coats I'd achieve were meant to look like that.

That last one was actually quite affirming. It also helps that I now have this enormous open source recipe book for painting methods even if Duncan Rhodes' face makes it a little hard to find that I'm looking for.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Does Infinity War even need a plot?

[SPOILERS for the Infinity War trailer if you were hoping to go in completely spoiler free.]

Okay, okay, okay, I know this is going to be the big pay off to the whole Infinity Stone business that has been underpinning the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years now. The thing is a friend and I were talking about how Marvel are going to cram in so many characters and still be able to have a solid plot to the whole thing.

And I think we need to be prepared for the fact they might not be able to and that it might even be the right decision.

Love it as I do, Avengers Assemble did not have much of a plot. They get brought together, they fall apart, they get back together again and then there's a big long fight that's just set piece after set piece for most of the rest of the film. The joy of the first Avengers movie is seeing how all these characters you'd been looking forward to bumping into each other play off one another.

And that was totally the right way to go.

Now Age Of Ultron is not a film I am not even half as fond of. Mostly that's because it just tries to do the same plot as the first film with robots instead of aliens. There are scenes that I adored, mainly the ones during and after the big party in Stark Tower but the main plot left me rather cold.

With Infinity War, of course, there are all these new characters meeting for the first time or at least for the first extended period outside the fight scene in Civil War. Case in point: the clip from the most recent trailer with Starlord being a condescending prick to Stark or Peter Parker thinking Doctor Strange's name is made up.

I'm not going to lie, that is much more the sort of thing I'm going to this movie to see than the exact mechanics of if and how purple Stone Cold manages to collect all the McGuffins. Obviously there has to be a plot but I wonder if it should be kept to a minimum and have the actors' interactions carry the film in character scene after character scene until the big old fight.

Sort of like The Five Doctors, actually, a story where the author happily admits that he just gave up on plot in the face of a laundry list of characters, monsters and callbacks he was expected to weave into it.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Forgebane and the backlog

Later this morning I'll be ordering my copy of Forgebane. My test models are proceeding apace, though the Voss Prime colour scheme did not work out for me and I'm going back to the drawing board on that. I just don't want to do Mars, ultimately. Anyway, the set was expensive and contains a lot of models plus I've come to an arrangement with a friend to take his Necron half of Forgebane off his hands. So here's the deal:

Aside from the special event Chaplain I'm going to have a chance to buy next weekend I am not going to buy a single model until I have finished painting all of the Forgebane models. At least the ones from my set, anyway. That twenty-seven models (or forty-one with the extra Necrons but let's keep things realistic).

So its another chance to address the backlog and to make sure it doesn't get any worse. For a start there's a small box of second hand Tyranids I need to get around to and the Mechanicus models I'm planning to recondition for this new army.

Time to get started on some old projects.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Forgebane thinkings

Forgebane pre-orders are this weekend and I really want the little Knights. If I have my maths right, even before you count the new stuff its still a £20 discount. So, here's the question: what to do with it all.

Now, I do have some Mechanicus stuff I impulse bought when it all first came out. Typically for me I didn't get much done on them. I painted a couple of Vanguard with blue robes because I vaguely liked the idea of representing the Ultramarian forge world of Konor. I've gone off that idea since mainly because I just did not like how those models looked in blue. Its a bad colour for them, it makes them look too small.

I don't have a Necron army but I've often thought having one might be cool. I could always just sell the Necron stuff on eBay though I doubt I'd get a good price on any of it because you know that so many people will just be buying this stuff for the Armigers and flipping the rest of the stuff for a profit thus no profit for anyone because market saturation.

Not that I have any grounds for complaint given the number of dirt cheap Tyranid Gargoyles I've snagged because no one wanted them from their Start Collectings. I've never figured out why, I adore Gargoyles.

Anyway, Adeptus Mechanicus and Necrons. What would I do with them?

Adeptus Mechanicus: Forge World Voss Prime

The Stygies VIII colour has some appeal, I admit, but I have so many black armies that I think the black robes might bore me out of the army. Most of the other sub-factions are in various combinations of black, grey and red which is a bit too standard for me. Then I saw that the new Codex has a whole double page spread of new forge world colour schemes including...

Voss Prime. Skitarii who look like Swiss Guards. You don't tend to associate the Mechanicus with bright colours but the key art from the Codex here looks so good. It will also hopefully assuage my occasional desire for a Howling Griffons army. Voss Prime is apparently known as “The Right Hand Of Mars” thus giving me a valid background reason for using the Martian Forge World Dogma: Glory To The Omnissiah which allows you to randomly generate two Canticles of the Omnissiah each turn.

Voss is also the closest forge world to Armageddon which would be a nice excuse for them to be tooling around with my Savlar Chem-Dogs until I have a proper army's worth of either.

Necrons: The Pirate King Thaszar the Invincible

There is comedy Necron background. At the very least there is Necron background with a funny idea at the heart of it. You see, there was this exiled Necron noble called Thaszar. He was exiled and placed into hibernation on his Tomb Ship on what would become an Imperial world. Millions upon millions of years later the master program of the Sarnekh Dynasty crownworld sends out a recall order to his Tomb Ship and he wakes up, destroys the Imperial capital as he blasts his ship free of the planet's crust and returns to the world of his birth.

Except the master program for some reason issued his recall but didn't wake anyone up.

So our boy Thaszar hacks the master program and convinces it he's the phaeron of the dynasty and has that concept hard coded into every single Necron on the Sarnekh crownworld Zapennec. And he isn't happy to just be king, oh no, he decides he's going to be a pirate king.

Yes, an entire army of Necron space pirates.

I will restrain myself from converting an Overlord to have a tricorn hat but I intend to go absolutely overboard with the colour scheme. Lots of regal blue with gold accents, maybe even some white panels around chest and legs to make them look like Napoleonic naval officers. Maybe even work out a rank system represented by how much gold is on the body.

I might have to think heavily about how of even if I can incorporate the Triarch units. On the one hand they're not something Thraszar would have been able to reprogram as they wouldn't have been hibernating on Zapennec (I don't think) but on the other they seem so intent on re-establishing the Necrontyr empires that they might just accept that this guy exists and has a huge space navy so they'll just try to enforce the rules on him in the hopes that he'll at least be useful.

I'll have to do a lot more background reading before I decide whether that's a viable storyline or not.

The Test Models

One thing I've learnt the last couple of months in my little hobby renaissance is the value of a good test model. I tend to go for an ordinary trooper of some variety but since I have a Magos Dominus to hand from aforementioned impulse purchases I might as well go all out and start with generals.
So, in the red corner we have the Adeotus Mechanicus Magos Dominus with his Pope hat (I love the Pope hat) who is going to get the halved red and yellow Voss Prime colour scheme. In the green corner we have the Necron Overlord who will be getting a suitably naval ceramic design in various blocks of white and regal blue. I can already see it in my head: regal blue on the limbs and the side of the torso, bone white on the ribcage and certain elements of the legs, gold helmet and lower arms. I'll probably keep the resurrection orb and scythe in the traditional green to have some of the more common Necron visual signifiers.

To the painting table...