Tuesday, 30 October 2012

White Dwarf - November 2012

This is the second issue in the new style so it's time to see if the gang can keep up the great work they started last month. The issue comes with the annual gift guide and also a tiny pamphlet with rules for a couple of new units for fantasy chaos armies, yay for new rules!

New Releases - I didn't really have a clue about what was coming this month so this whole section was a surprise. We lead with the new Warriors of Chaos models. The Warshrine looks epic, the Skullcrushers look deadly and the Hellstriders are a Slaanesh unit I actually don't mind! Scyla Anfingrimm looks a bit like an angry pokemon and I'm not too sure what to make of Festus, the details are amazing but I'm a bit put off by his chin! The two lords, one Khorne and one nurgle are amazing, if I'm ever in a position to just pick up a cool model for the fun of painting it these would be high on the list.

The new White Dwarf miniature is also out this month, I love the model, it's hilarious, but I won't be able to work it into my dwarf army like I have done with previous versions.

Cultists are released in a pack of 5 with mixed weapons so it still looks like the best way to get whole squads in the DV box. Also released are the christmas megaforces. They are all big value for money and a really cool way to kickstart a new army project.

Now we come onto the new releases that I'm the most excited about. The edge paint set is a great addition to the already lovely range. It has some almost pastel colours and a 'eavy metal brush. Hopefully soon they'll sell the pots separately as at the moment they're just in a bundle but I'll be checking these out this Saturday.

The final thing that grabbed my attention was the new basing kits. I had one a while ago and the slate has been invaluable for my army. The kit that really grabbed my attention is the Under-Empire one. It has green crystals for my Necron army and mushrooms for my Dwarf army. Another purchase for this weekend.

Actually that wasn't the final thing, the final thing is actually the Imperial Defence Network or the Wall of Martyrs. It's a huge 100 quid kit which effectively allows you to create a trench network for your table. It doesn't look like there's any fortification rules for it so it might just be a piece of terrain, time will tell.

Forge World Latest - Resin time and a look at the Magma dragon and incarnate elemental that were released a while ago. The stand out piece for me though is the Heresy era marine jetbike. The kit is lush and I can't wait to add some to my #ForgeWorldOnly army in time.

Digital Products - The Vampire Counts army book gets the ipad treatment.

Black Library - A massive section for the book division this time with a look at two major releases, Pariah, and the first hardback Horus Heresy novel Angel Exterminatus. I like the idea of hardbacks and if I hadn't already bought the whole series in paperback I'd be considering these.

Licensed Games - FFG bring us a brand new RPG all about guard. It looks like it'll follow in their high standard of books.

Army of the Month - A huge Empire army from a chap called Rich Packer. It all looks great as you'd expect but one thing I noticed was the lack of big beasties such as the demigryphs and the big warmachine thingys.

Jervis Johnson - This month he tackles the topic of comp. When I say tackle I mean he outlines the two points of view then fails to fall on either side of the fence! I think the gist of the piece was that it's all cool and that we're entitled to take it to extremes but moderation is always best.

Battle Report - Andrew and Jes take to the battlefield again with a game of fantasy to test out the latest releases. Many people moan about the reports, that the armies aren't super competitive and that they're just an excuse to squeeze in more of the latest releases. I say why the hell not? It's a great way for people who aren't familiar with the army books to see how the units work and also it's just always nice to play with the new shiny toys!

Blanchitsu - A further look at Johns Inquisitorial warband. He really loves that Nurgle lord! His kit bash of the wraith is unbelievable, every photo in this article is a treat.

Hall of Fame - It certainly wouldn't be my pick for a stand out model but I suppose it is technically good and it certainly is well painted.

Parade Ground - A look at tanks. The Black Templar Land Raider is a stand out piece along with the beefy FW Praetor.

Kit Bash - A fist full of ideas about converting 40k warlords. The dreadnought power fist on the Inquisitor lord is crazy cool and it's lovely to see so much creativity in the magazine.

Battle Ground - I've never seen this board despite going to Warhammer World twice, they must pack it away for FW open days. This is stereotypical GW with shitloads of skulls all over the shop. Again there's some neat little conversion ideas.

Paint Splatter - Loads of different techniques for all sorts of chaos parts from armour to horns to fur. Nothing ground breaking but an interesting read with a few tips to remember. There's also a very model masterclassesque salt weathering technique for some extreme weathering.

Jeremy Vetock - Jeremy recognises that wargaming takes place in clubs and places other than the stores. It's a cool article and seems really genuine. He comes across as a nice guy and I'm looking forward to reading more from him in the upcoming months.

This Month In - First off is the WD bunker which looks exactly how I envisage my gaming room to look like when I get one early next year. There's plenty of space for painting and gaming and loads of display shelves. Andrew Kenrick's heldrake looks sweet, a great paint job in DG colours rather than the usual red. It does look like a right pain in the arse to transport though!
In the design studio they chat briefly about the chaos models but the really interesting part is the section penned by Dave Andrews about how he went about building the trench network.
Forge World show us the new Realm of Battle boards, I wasn't too impressed with them at first but they're really growing on me, postage would be huge!

You can tell by the length of this month's and last month's reviews that these new issues are rammed with stuff. Lot's of people have pointed out that the page count has already dropped and that there's a few articles missing this time round. I think this is to do with there not being a full codex release this month and that if the same articles were run all the time it might get stale. Better to cycle them round so that it keeps feeling fresh and is different each month. While nothing in this issue directly applied to an army of mine (which is surprising considering they seem to keep multiplying) I read each article and enjoyed the whole mag. It's consistent with last month although not as much 40k so an impressive 8/10 from me.

As always please let me know what you thought of it and please don't forget to follow the blog for your chance to win a painted miniature. Take care and I'll catch you soon.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Jumping on the #ForgeWorldOnly bandwagon!

Building a whole army out of Forge World you say? My ears totally pricked up when I heard that on Twitter a week or so ago. I won't go into details about how it started, you can find that out by searching #ForgeWorldOnly or visiting these blogs here and here.

At the moment I'm planning a single army made exclusively from Forge World kits and you'll be able to track my progress both here and on the blog that Drake set up.

As soon as I had Horus Heresy Book one: Betrayal in my hands I was thinking hard about what and who to collect!
With Angron in the painting queue I initially thought of World Eaters but thought they might be very popular.
Next were the Death Guard, my favourite of the traitors. They'd probably be getting a lot of love in the not so distant future and I wouldn't have to wait too long for some Primarch goodness.

I was literally, well not actually literally, pulling my hair out with indecision.

Then in a moment of clarity, whilst dosed up to my eyeballs on man-flu killing drugs, I realised, ULTRAMARINES! It made sense, yeah they're probably not going to get any genuine FW love in the next year or two but they'd be getting their love from me. I haven't painted much for my 40k smurfs in a long while and feel quite bad about it. I once had dreams of owning a whole company. That dream hasn't gone away, it's still there, only now it's being accompanied by Legion sized dreams!

In line with the rules I won't be able to fall into my usual trap of buying tons of cool shit then never painting it. I'll have to plan out my purchases and finish them before moving onto the next one. So in order to accomplish this crazy mission, a 1750 point all FW army, I'm actually drawing up an army list to work towards before reaching for my wallet. This will be following along shortly in a follow up post, possibly tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Monday, 15 October 2012

Deliverance Lost

This book has taken me about 2 months to finish. I got about a third of the way through and felt like I didn't want to go on. Now this is in no way Gav's fault, it is a problem with the subject matter.

Once again the Horus Heresy series returns to the drop site massacre on Isstvan. Granted, each time we revisit the battle it's from a different perspective and yes it's one of the pivotal moments in the whole thing but for fucks sake lets get this war rolling!

After being at a loss for something to do the other night I ended up picking the raven guard up again to see if I could remember where I'd left them all those weeks ago. I'm really glad I did as I haven't been able to put the book down for the past 3 nights. While its still fresh in my mind I thought I'd share some of my insights and opinions.

  • Corax, whilst a total badass is probably the nicest Primarch I've read about so far.

  • I feel really sorry for the poor Therions, basically human meat shields.

  • I loved the way Alpharius puts that twat Erebus in his place.

  • The Emperor didn't come off as badly as he has done in previous books.

  • When I was reading about the Primarch 'apartments' on Terra I couldn't help thinking of Tracy Island.

Now that's out of the way a brief round-up of all the action. The Raven Guard had just been all but eliminated on Isstvan but managed to make a run for it. They end up on Terra where They meet Dorn, some Custodes, and the Emperor. They then return to Deliverance where they try to rebuild their legion. There's some shenanigans that happen and at the end they wind up smashing some traitors to oblivion.

It's another top novel from Gav, and my advice for anyone feeling as despondent as I did about the opening, please bear with it, it does get to the point where you can't put it down! A solid 8/10.

Miniature Monday - Necron Doom Scythe

This was actually finished a number of weeks ago but I never got around to posting any decent photos of it, until now!

It's an amazing kit, a real treat to put together and very easy, if not time-consuming, to paint. Added to that it will fuck you up on the table if left unchecked too, result!

ps. if you haven't already, hit the follow button for your chance to win a painted miniature! cheers.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Podcast Review #2 - Bad Dice Daily

Just a quick one this time, which is appropriate! The Bad Dice Daily (or Bitesize Ben Curry as I think of it) is a spin off from the main Bad Dice podcast with Ben flying solo.

The format is around the 10-20 minute mark covering a different topic each day mostly related to fantasy but with the occasional sprinkling of 40k. I find that this shorter length makes them a joy to listen to as it's a lot harder to go off-topic and start rambling. The show is released 5 days a week and Ben's started introducing some weekly features such as top 5's. As a bloke I love making top X lists (and here's a post my friend Jamie wrote on the topic!).

Today saw the release of the 100th episode, which by my calculations should mean the podcast is 20 weeks old, that's a lot of dedication put something out every day without fail! It's a look back at the previous episodes and a glimpse of what's to come. You can find it here.

Overall, even though I'm not massively invested in the WHFB world I think it is really good at keeping me informed about what's happening and how it all works. I'd definitely recommend this cast, it's only 15 minutes a day.

On a side note, the theme is an awesome slice of chiptune by 8-bit weapon, definitely check them out.

Vintage White Dwarf 200. August 1996.

It's been long overdue but I'm finally getting around to reviewing this issue! It's been sitting on my bedside table for a few months but time always seems to be against me. That and my knack for extreme procrastinating. The front cover proudly boasts that it's the biggest white dwarf ever and they're certainly not wrong, it's rammed with goodness so let's jump in...

News - Necromunda first and the release of the Wyrds and Scavvies to go with the Outlanders expansion from a few issues back. For fantasy there's a few Wood Elves and a special White Dwarf miniature to celebrate the milestone. 40k is still on a chaos tip, mostly plague marines and the still available Fabius Bile. There's even a box-out previewing next months release of Kharn the Betrayer. On the hobby side of things they released a book called How to make wargames terrain and there's an article all about it later.

Another box-out tells us that games day is coming soon and that tickets cost £10, a far cry from today's prices!

An eternity of madness - Andy Chambers talks chaos dreadnoughts, going over the fire frenzy rules and showcasing some lovely converted Night Lords. Chaos got tons of love back in the day and I've been doing plenty of reading to get inspired for the upcoming new codex. There's stats included for the Mk1 heavy plasma gun, I'd totally forgotten guns in 2nd edition had short and long ranges and that they didn't just use a D6. A heavy plasma gun did D4 damage and you also had to roll a sustained fire dice!

The White Dwarf - An article all about the beardy guy they created especially for the 200th issue. There's shots of the greens and some background, then Nigel Stillman! What a legend, shows us the rules. In total with equipment he comes to a whopping 390 points! You also get all his magic item cards in the card section.

Faith in the Emperor - Ian Pickstock begins his article by talking about playing 40k in the spirit it was intended, Apparently prompted by numerous letters about people being mullered by beardy armies. he talks about staying true to your army and codex, be it through using the background or photographic material for reference, or just simply not looking for loopholes. This article spoke massively to me as I feel I'm not a competitive gamer, I don't look at net lists and generally play with what I think is cool instead of what I think will destroy my opponents the best.

He then leads on to apply this way of thinking to his Imperial Guard army with tank companies and Storm Trooper platoons. There's even a nice related scenario included.

Wayne's World - Adrian Wood interviews Wayne England. A man who did a lot of the logos and icons for GW. One logo I loved seeing again was the Citadel Combat Cards one, like top trumps but more geeky!

Tales from the Underhive - Inspired by the latest Scavvies and Mutants release 'papa' Steve Anastasoff looks at inspiration for exciting Necromunda scenarios, gives us some cool rules and a really fun article in general. Plenty of B-movie influence and even a Lictor thrown in for good measure!

'Eavy Metal Masterclass - Mike McVey takes two iconic pieces of artwork, Des Hanley's space marine bike and John Blanche's Eldar Exodites and combines them into a sweet diorama. I remember staring at these pages in awe wishing that they would release Exodites properly as my younger self had no clue about kit bashing and scratch building.

Meet the Dwarfers - A quick look and brief interview with each of the WD team.

Assault on Black Skull Mountain - Chaos Dwarfs versus regular Dwarfs in a little story led mini-campaign penned by Jervis. Great ideas and a quick, to the point battle rep.

Golden Demon 96 - McVey is back looking at some of the finalists. The Eldar are amazing and the IG diorama is seriously cool.

Space Hulk: Fangs of Fenris - A whole 3 brand spanking new missions for Space Hulk to include, wait, you guessed it, Space Wolves in the game. Looking at the price of the game on ebay nowadays I might build my own set to try some of these old missions out. Will probably start with pen and paper first before getting the plasticard out!

Warhammer Quest: Getting a Breath of Fresh Air - This is another game that I would love to play but cost is very much a factor again! This article talks about how to convert our dungeon dwelling heroes into open world fighters. I remember being really inspired by this article and wrote up a whole campaign system based on it but using my Heroquest box as the basis rather than WHQ. I wonder if it's still kicking around anywhere!

Manflayer - Andy Chambers chats Fabius Bile and gives us the full downlow on his rules, sweet!

A Word from our Sponsor - A look back at issues gone by, some great free posters and even a battle bunker (which I now have!). There's even a reminder that the WD team used to put out more than just the magazine, with their WD Presents... range, much like the Blood in the Badlands book recently.

Modelling Workshop - This heralds the launch of the How to make Wargames Terrain book.

Q&A - From a time before the interwebz for online FAQs. They do seem to be genuine questions someone would actually ask though. Such as - Can an Eldar Avatar use it's Wailing Doom to make a parry, since it's a really big sword?!

Kneel Before Me! - Orks versus the brand new (well 2nd ed. new) Chaos marines. There's maps, conversions, scratch built terrain and a real sense of fun. Also in the background of one shot you can see all the old Datafaxs, wargear cards and mission cards blu-tacked to the wall!

And that's that! I love this issue, it's so packed with all kinds of cool things, ideas and rules that really caught my 12 year old brain and haven't let go ever since! For a pure nostalgia trip I'd be tempted to give it a 10/10, but think I'll make it a more realistic 9/10. On a par with the latest one then.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Games Day 2012 Part Three - What I did and saw

My expectations were high for this year. After last years mediocre showing and the insane queues for the retail stands GW had to have made changes... Here's last year's write up if you're interested.

I got to the LG arena nice and early. From Cardiff it's a few hours drive and my girlfriend very kindly took me there, setting off at half 6 on her day off so that her boyfriend could have a few hours of geeky fun is not the best way to spend the day, and for that I am both very sorry and very grateful.

When I arrived the queue had started moving into the lobby, I was quite a way back but fortunately my friend Jamie had got there a lot earlier and was in prime position near the front of the queue so we met up, had a talk about life and hobbying and waited for the tensa barriers to be opened. If you haven't done so already please check out Jamie's blog, his youtube channel and also follow him on Twitter.

As the barriers opened the crowd surged forward and we proceeded at a brisk pace through to the new retail area in the hall beyond where it was last year. Adding on this whole extra space was a great plan and the queueing seemed a lot more controlled. Fortunately we were quite near the front and headed straight to the Forge World line. It was here we got separated but we were to meet up again towards the end of the day.

I only had to queue half an hour maximum to pick up everything that I had wanted, the Horus Heresy book 1, the Primarch Angron, Black Library's Games Day anthology and the event only Blood Angels captain. Feeling extremely chuffed but extremely light of pocket I headed to the FW display area. They were running seminars but in my haste to acquire the hefty tome of heresy I hadn't picked up a ticket. I was still early so had a look at the Warhammer Forge section and had a great chat with Steve Whitehead who has been hard at work on the new Dwarf/Empire/Goblin book. His artwork looked amazing and his test sculpt of a knight on foot was cool.

At 11 the seminar doors opened and I managed to get in without a ticket, must've been down to a few people with them being stuck in the queues still. Had a great time in there, took down loads of info which you can read here, and at the end got my book signed by Alan Bligh!

With all the shopping and seminar out of the day I had the rest of the day to wander round at my own leisure and see what was about. Along the way I met up with more Twitter friends, Lee and Carl from Cambridge, Ian, and Nick from Worthy Painting. I also tried to meet Pete and Kevin but it didn't quite happen. Everyone seemed just as enthusiastic about the day and I really enjoyed chatting to you all.

After checking out the Armies on Parade, which you'll find here, I looked at some of the smaller stands. Had a nice chat with one of the guys developing the Warhammer Quest game for iDevices and had a look at the Fantasy Flight Games stand. I was so tempted to pick up a copy of Death Angel but couldn't quite bring myself to spend even more money! After that it was a quick look at the display cabinets, mostly they contained stuff brought down from Warhammer World which is always great to see but there were a few new bits and pieces to feast my eyes on.

The new White Dwarf crew were in full force and I had a quick chat with Andrew Kenrick, we talked about twitter and if we'd be seeing any of the new chaos releases in his amazing Death Guard army soon. We will be so that's great news. Next to them was the incredible asteroid base from the 6th edition rulebook. The photos don't do it justice this thing was epic. It looked like it would be so much fun to play on.

Next on the hit list was the gaming and participation area. Somehow just like with the Armies on Parade I totally missed Cardiff's award winning table but did see the Cambridge one as I was with Lee and Carl at the time. From there it was onto the make'n'take area. They had it locked down tight this year. All that was up for grabs was some battlefield debris, no chance of grabbing a complete Garden of Morr and two arcane fulcrums like last year!

At the end while the Golden Demon awards were being given out I realised that I'd never found the whole Ultramarines chapter on display, it was hidden in the retail hall and I'd never returned there after getting through the queues, damn!

So there you have it. It was an amazing day, I was a little worried about going on my own but met some fantastic guys and had a great time all round. I definitely recommend getting there early to avoid being stuck in a queue all day leaving you free to enjoy yourself. Yes the only real previews came from FW but I don't think that's what the day is about. I see it as a celebration of the whole hobby as it stands at that moment, and it succeeded in that mission. It built on last year and I can't wait to go again next year to see what more they can do.

Games Day 2012 Part Two - Armies on Parade

In the second instalment of my trip to the Birmingham NEC I thought we'd take a look at some of the Armies that were on Parade. This was a crowded section of the halls and inbetween being jostled and a background of gamer-funk I managed to take a few blurry shots of my favourites...

 Kicking things off here's a cool Space Wolves army. The bunker is the main part and the paint scheme kind of blends the board with the miniatures, I'm not sure if that was the idea!

A cool feature are the tanks and techmarine hidden in the garage underneath.
 This Ork display was huge. The weathering on the very expensive fortress was nice and the Jets flying around the towers were great.

There's even a landing platform with a looted space marine flier perched on top!
 On to what I believe is a Minataurs army. He's gone to town with the bronze and it looked amazing. There's even a Dreadknight in there.
 I didn't pay much attention to the fantasy boards and don't think I saw a single Dwarf one but this Lizardman entry was sweet. It really gives you the impression of them marching to war from an ancient Incan monument, I mean Lustrian.
 Space Wolves again and a lot of time must have gone into this board. Personally I'm not a fan of boards that are built just for display like this but that's just my opinion. The army was well painted and worked well together.
 Dark Angels! This was an incredible board with many bits of citadel terrain merged into one.

The checkerboard flooring inside the building was amazing and the way the bases tie in with where they're standing is great.

The only downside was that the gun on top of the tower was just sprayed black. I'd have just left it off as it detracted from an otherwise great display.
 More Orks now and another tower with a landing pad at the top. Oh and another looted marine flier!

Note the cool little lift on the side of it.
 This Blood angels display had some cool ideas on it. The drop pod smashing through the ruined building was an especially nice touch. The flame from the flamer was nice but a tad bit excessive I feel.
 Tau time! Loved the way the skimmers were zooming down and around the walls and the finish on the little pool of water on the edge was good.

One thing I didn't quite get was the use of imperial architecture when the rest of the terrain was home made.
 Possibly my favourite army on parade. White Necrons with green power.

The Forge World pieces looked amazing in the (metallic) flesh however it would've been great to have seen more work put into the display board, at the very least to add some height to it.
 I liked the scheme so much I took two photos!
 Another Tau entry, man they seemed popular this year.

Some great scratch built scenery here and the rich red really contrasts well with the off-white of the structures.
 A really neat idea for this entry. A visualisation of a Space Hulk / Zone Mortalis / boarding action taking place.

The concept, the miniatures and the walls all look fab. The upper surround isn't quite up to the same standard but a great idea.
 A sweet looking Eldar display with a wall of a warp storm/portal and a grav tank emerging from it. Actually it might be a webway portal?
 Chaos time and a huge amount of money on display. The paint job was nice but the board was quite plain again.
 More scratch built Tau scenery. Not quite as cool as the previous ones but a great effort nonetheless. I especially like the ladder leading up to the landing platform.
So we end on another Tau board. The landing platform in the bottom right is a very unique design!

The paint scheme was cool and definitely has camoflagued the army with the terrain.

So there they are, I didn't get a shot of the winning army on parade, and to add insult to injury it came from my very own Cardiff store! Well I say very own, I make my impulse purchases there but haven't played yet!

See you in part three soon for my personal write up of the whole day.