Saturday, 26 January 2013

Warllama Weekly Issue 10

Monday 21st - Sunday 27th January 2012

Hey folks. Thought I'd write this weeks adventures up a day or so early since I'm in work tomorrow then out at a gig Monday. Currently I'm suffering from massive sleep deprivation from staying up all night playing Magic, not something I'm going to repeat in a long time! More on that later, first there's been genuine hobby progress made this week, so there's not as much filler/news!

I ended up deciding to just part with more cash for plastic crack at the start of the week, so for my first trip down to Firestorm of the week I picked up another Deathwing Command box and a Dark Talon. I had my work cut out with 11 chunky models but I've managed to get all of them cleaned up, glued and primed! At least the first time I use them they won't be bare plastic. I'm hoping I'll find some time after moving to at least get the basecoat down.

On the painting front my mission was to finish some scenery ready for my Realm of Battle so that my army had something nice to die behind. I managed to build up the motivation to finish the bastion finally, and also completed two parts of the Wall of Martyrs box set. I got the bunker and one of the emplacements done. I haven't seen how they look on my board as it's packed away ready to move but hopefully it'll all gel well and look ace. I'll put up some photos once it's all set up.

Before we break into Magic talk, as it's Saturday I was expecting February's White Dwarf but it hasn't arrived. I really thought GW had got their postage issue resolved as it's been consistent for quite a few months now. Guess I'll have to wait and see for Monday.

Finally we come to Magic the Gathering. I think I mentioned it last time round that I haven't played in years, since around the time that Zendikar came out. The Boros legion (red/white) has been a firm favourite archetype of mine for a long time and when I found out this set was going to feature the old Ravnica guilds I knew it was time to jump back in.
Last night I set off in the shitting rain (well, at least it wasn't more snow!) to Firestorm again and arrived at around half 11. It was a fairly uneasy feeling walking into a room of over forty complete strangers on my own but soon got chatting to a few guys. There were 45 of us playing I think so we had 6 rounds, which I was totally unprepared for! I thought I'd be home by 4, 5 at the latest. I managed to drag my weary body back home at around 7 this morning.
Each player got a box from their guild containing a specific pack with cards from their chosen colours, along with 5 booster packs and a spindown die. I'd gone prepared with some fresh sleeves and eagerly went about trying to remember how to build a deck. I managed to get it figured out with time to spare and here's what I came up with -

I started taking notes after the first couple of games, but by the time we'd finished game three I was too fucked to bother writing anything down. Each of my opponents was great fun to play against, and I ended up winning 3 matches and losing the same amount. This placed me somewhere near the bottom of the pile but I really don't mind that, it was a great way to get back in the game and I'm looking forward to heading to a FNM in the next couple of weeks.

Another week reported on, and it's been a good one. Next week isn't going to be great hobby-wise with the big move into the valleys, but I'm sure something geeky will happen that I can write about. Until then, have fun and have a great week.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Warllama Weekly Issue 9

Monday 14th - Sunday 20th January 2013

Let's get the new releases news out of the way first, next month looks like it's just going to be Warriors of Chaos coming out from GW. Fortunately it's not an army that appeals to me so I can get more painted in February without feeling the urge to splash out on the latest plastics.

From Forge World there's four new Zone Mortalis board sections, Epsilon, Eta, Theta and Zeta. It's great to see more variety but they're still 25 quid a pop which puts them out of impulse range. There's also a couple of embellishments for the boards which add a bit of variety to the already detailed walls.

A while ago I won the crashed aquilla lander set from ebay. I had no idea it was still available on the GW website but thankfully I paid less than it costs brand new, phew. Anyways, it showed up this week and has joined the pile of scenery to work on ready for my gaming table

Speaking of scenery I got another couple of end pieces finished from the wall of martyrs and started on the big emplacement sections. I've got a week off next week (yes, another one!) so I'll have a lot more to show next week. With all this scenery on the go I had to pick up a couple more washes. I'm finding that a nuln oil followed by agrax earthshade gets it looking suitably worn and dirty.

The other stuff that I'd ordered a while ago was some Dark Angels from Total Wargamer. They arrived on thursday which was one of my days off so I got cracking straight away on the Deathwing Knights. They're amazing models packed with cool details, from the shoulder pads matching the shields, to the vents on the back of the body being arch shaped. I'll hopefully get them glued together instead of blu-tacked next week. I also got Asmodai and the casting doesn't look too bad but haven't got him out of the blister yet. After adding up everything I've got so far it comes to around 1100 points, not bad for a set of DV and a couple of extras.

The final thing that happened was a bit of a surprise. I spotted a retweet of a new Magic card and couldn't help but comment on it. My friend @kryptonickWG then started chatting about the game and that rekindled my enthusiasm. I haven't played, let alone looked at, my cards in about 2 years so has been great fun getting back up to speed.
The main reason I stopped was that I wasn't enjoying it as much. It was getting too competitive with everyone bringing top end standard decks to every FNM. I myself was part of that with a pretty expensive Jund deck.
This time around I'm going to keep it on my terms, try not to get sucked into spending hundreds on a deck on cards. I've signed up for the midnight pre-release event for Gatecrash at one of my local stores, Firestorm Games. By a stroke of insane coincidence this set contains the Boros guild, my favourite colour combination of red and white, kerching!

Well on that bombshell I'll leave you for another week. Next time round I'll have a round up of how I got on at the pre-release and how much stuff I managed to get painted on my holiday. Cheers as always for reading.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

White Dwarf (397) - January 2013

I was mega excited about this issue, from all the leaks I knew it was going to feature the Dark Angels, and they are my most recent new army project! (On a side note, I never meant for any of this to happen. When I got back into 40k I had every intention of collecting a company of Ultramarines, with supporting extras and that would be it. It's just somehow spiraled out of control to the point where they're updating so many armies with such beautiful models that I can't help myself, I blame you GW!)... Let's get into it...

Opening Salvo - Jes has toned it down a lot since last issue. Obviously he's still going to big up his own companies wares but it's no way near the other the top gushing of last issue.

New Releases - Woop woop it's Dark Angels time! Since I'm so late in writing this review I won't bore you with an in depth look. Let's just say everything looks cool. The Deathwing Knights looks suitably badass, and I personally love the excessive gothicary on the new models. It's great that Belial looks like a cathedral, and that the Dark Talon has 'that' design feature. Even the Darkshroud and Landspeeder Vengeance are nice models, and the actual photos in WD rather than the shoddy leaked snaps, should hopefully have changed some of the doubters minds.

There's also some Hobbit stuff, a couple of Black Library novels and Forge World show off what they'd released over December from the Legion Command Upgrade packs to the Death Guard and World Eaters Contemptors.

Army of the Month - Jes Bickham shows off his very impressive Tyranid army. It's packed with huge gribbly monsters and the paint scheme is rather striking. There are hints of background and conversion ideas but with a force as impressive as this I'd be able to fill pages and pages with details about it to inspire others.

Jervis Johnson - Archery and painting skill are the topics covered this month. It's nice to have an article that has an outcome and isn't left open-ended.

Battle Report - The two stars of the moment, Dark Angels and Chaos Marines duke it out in a no points value war to capture/destroy some Fallen. The custom scenario is cool, the idea of just taking all the cool shit is cool. What isn't cool is how the report is written. As GW keep reminding us it's all about 'forging the narrative'. Well please lead the way and give us a narrative with a story rather than who rolled what. That can wait for the post match analysis. I want to be engaged by the prose of the combatants, I don't want to know how you rolled three 1's to wound.

The Rivals - It's Tactical Dreadnought Armour time with Thunder Hammer storm shield terminators up against Grey Knight terminators. It's an interesting concept and does outline some of their capabilities, however I fail to see how it is a genuinely useful article since you would never have to make the choice between them when building an army. What would be a lot more interesting would be a match up between shooty and assault termies, that way you can have the pro's and con's weighed up and it would help a lot of newer players with their army construction.

Blanchitsu - More inspirational models from hobbyists who follow the same ethos as John. It's as cool as ever but I'd love to know why they did what they did!

Hall of Fame - Same as the Mangler Squig last time, it's a good model, but surely it's too new to be a classic. The cynic in me thinks that it's a ploy to shift a slow selling line. The believer in me wants to think that Alan Perry really does believe this stands up there with the best of the best. I can think of countless Jes Goodwin's that would fit the bill much better. They talk of how a John Blanche illustration informed the design but then fail to show us what they're talking about. Surely there's space over the double page spread to squeeze it in somewhere.

Parade Ground - Now this is amazing. A look at some of the Golden Demon winners from around the world this year. The stand out for me is the Blood Angels space hulk terminators by Ruben Souto and the Nurgle Lord by Mark Soley.

Kit Bash - A look at how to convert Citadel Terrain and scenery. I've always thought that the plastic buildings and such that GW produce are fantastic value for money. They are big kits with plenty of detail and endless scope for customisation. I really like what Andrew Kenrick has done with his Wall of Martyrs, Nurgling it up to fit in with his army.

Battleground - White Dwarf Daily had previewed this and I was anticipating this eagerly. Once again, highly inspirational stuff and only a couple of skulls! It looks a lot more practical to play on than the Star Fort, and there's talk of other building materials!

Paint Splatter - More Dark Angels, and I was happy to see that the method I'd worked out for my DV models matched what was here almost exactly. The scheme on the Deathwing was interesting and unexpected, and the tip about adding a little grey to your black for the Ravenwing was a stroke of genius. totally obvious now that I know it but not something I would have thought of.
Then there's some tips on how to replicate Jes' Tyranid paint scheme and a quick guide on the Hobbit stuff.

Jeremy Vetock - Instead of giving us an insight into how he went about creating the Codex of the month we get his thoughts on playing games at 'home and away'. While the article was interesting, and the talk of custom missions (and another mention of disregarding points) was great, but I want to know what he thought about the Dark Angels.

This Month In - A look at the Dark Angels again, this time from the designers. They talk about their influences such as work by John Blanche, but then fail to show that in the pages! Instead of yet more pictures of the models they could have easily added some art or, dare I say it, some more writing. When talking about the Vengeance and Darkshroud they mention some of the questions they ask when they begin to design a new kit, but then fail to follow on with how that informed the design choices. Instead they just talk about nothing much at all. While it's great to see designers notes in WD again I feel that it's too little content, too much superficial information.

From Forge World there's more excellent sculpting for the upcoming Warhammer Forge tome, and a look at how their impressive Games Day display was built. Black Library have a couple more interviews/glowing reviews and that wraps it up for another issue.

On the whole it's a great issue, covering a wide array of topics, however I can't help the feeling that it's a bit too shallow. All show and no tell. After reviewing countless issues I fully understand the need to show clearly the latest releases to build up excitement, I just wish they would back it up with meaningful content, doesn't have to be earth shattering, but maybe with nine staff working on it at least one of them could've come up with a full battle mission or something.

The whole magazine does feel very inspirational as I've mentioned several times throughout my review so I'll award it a solid 7. It's up there with previous new dwarfs, but with signs that the new shiny ideals could so easily slip away again if Jes and co don't maintain all the hard work that they put into it.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Warllama Weekly Issue 8

Monday 7th - Sunday 13th January 2013

Another week down and I still haven't had a chance to write a review of this months White Dwarf although I have read through it a couple of times. I can't wait for my order from Total Wargamer to arrive so I can read through the codex. Hopefully I'll get the review done and dusted this Wednesday on my day off.

So last week was back to work after my five day break and was straight into stocktake prep. When you work in a store as massive as the one I'm in its a mammoth undertaking which culminated in working til 9 on Sunday then back in at half 4 Monday to finish it off. Needless to say this ate into my hobby time but I did get some bits and bobs done.

My eBay items came through, including three old Warhammer monthlys, the comic that they used to produce, and a small stack of WDs from around the 200's completing the run from 190-211. I also double checked the wall of martyrs painting guide from two months ago and bought a few of the paints I needed to start on that huge box. Unfortunately the bits I'd gotten primed weren't the bits with the rusted decking so I didn't get to try them all out. We'll come back to what I did do in a little while.

In the news this week were a couple of interesting releases. Forge World / Warhammer Forge unveiled the neat looking Night Goblin command set for the upcoming Battle of Black Fire Pass book which I'm getting very excited about. Night Goblins have always been an army I've liked since seeing some cool paint jobs from Golden Demon way back in the day. However I'm most looking forward to seeing what they've got coming out for the Dwarfs.
The set contains a Night Goblin Warboss on a Great Cave Squig, a Night Goblin Boss carrying a Battle Standard, and finally a Night Goblin Shaman.

The other exciting release is from the Black Library. They're putting out a new limited edition novella at the end of the month called Mephiston: Lord of Death. It's apparently the beginning of a new series of books 'the Lords of the Space Marines'. It sounds like they're going to do a bunch of stories involving all the astartes special characters.
It's written by a chap called David Annandale who I've not heard of before but the plot sounds decent enough.
As with the last LE offering it's actually a limited time, only being up for order for a week. This is a great way of doing things as it avoids many people being disappointed. My only concern is the cost. It's an extra fiver on top of the already pushing it thirty notes of previous novellas, although you do get a few extras thrown in like a chapbook and a postcard.

And so we come to my actual hobby progress for the week. A couple of the barricades from the big Wall of Martyrs set. I'd gotten bored with working on mr Bastion but still wanted to work on some scenery. I wasn't sure how they'd turn out as the casting on the piles of dead Cadians and crates isn't super sharp and doesn't go right down to the base leaving lots of large flat surfaces. I managed to get it looking quite decent with a couple of liberal washes and a hefty drybrushing of 'dirt' to cover over it. These were reasonably quick to paint and I've already got the next bit prepared for priming once I get a new can of chaos black and some nice(r) weather coincides with one of my days off.

The final part of last week was another trip to the house I'll be moving into at the end of the month. Those of you who read last weeks update will have read about my plans for a gaming room. I took some measurements and decided I can just about squeeze a 8'x4' table in there! I'm going to make it out of two 4x4 sections so it's not completely unwieldy, and I've found some relatively cheap supplies. Wickes do the right size wood, I've just got to hope they'll be able to cut it in half for me (to fit it in the car, I can saw shit myself!) and Ikea sell table legs for £2.50 each! Should come to around £46 all together, a bit more if I need a fifth supporting leg in the middle of each table.
The house comes with inbuilt wardrobes in the main bedroom which means that our own wardrobes will be living in my mancave too. While some of them will be taken up with storing coats, Christmas decs and old suits, there should be plenty of space to use as a display cabinet. The shelves are a lot deeper than the Billy bookcases I'm using at the moment so I will be able to fit a lot more onto them, although that's definitely not an excuse to buy more stuff!

That's it for this week, it's been a long post despite nothing much really happening. Hope you've enjoyed reading, thanks as always, and please leave a comment below with any of your thoughts or comments about last weeks escapades.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Warllama Weekly Issue 7

31st December - 6th January 2013

This week has been a good week, just in general but not for hobby progress. It started out with a very busy Monday in work then a deathly quiet new years day in store. Fortunately Anna and I had decided to stay in on NYE and watch some more 24 so I wasn't feeling rough. We finished season 5 which was one of the best yet and have just begun season 6 to see what happened with the cliffhanger.

From Wednesday onwards I was on holiday! This has more than made up for only having one day off over christmas and am feeling refreshed and a lot less stressed. I just hope when I return to work tomorrow my stress levels stay low!

I started off with some more work on the bastion. To say it's a basic kit with plenty of block colours it's taking me ages to get it finished. It's almost at the stage where everything is painted and I can douse it in a liberal nuln oil wash. I think the green is going to work well with the grey of my Realm of Battle.

Friday was my birthday and there was some 40k involved. Anna had bought me Sammael, the master of the Ravenwing. The model is amazing, there's so much detail and the finecasting was really good, the only part that's iffy so far is the wobbly sword, win! Later in the evening a group of us got together for a chinese buffet and some bowling, where I was given the Dark Angels Company Master. Again the casting was great and this has greatly bolstered my fledgling force.

Ebay time, and the Chronicles of War Warhammer supplement I'd won before christmas from the Warhammer Trader finally showed up. The students next door had taken it in and failed to let me know. If you don't already follow him on twitter or haven't checked out his ebay store then please do, there's tons of amazing stuff. I won't be building these until we've moved house but can't wait to see how they look next to the dwarf buildings from the Grudge of Drong supplement.

That leads us neatly onto the biggest news of the week, we're moving! The one bed flat we share in the middle of Cardiff is getting too cramped and the lack of a bath is seriously not helping my tenseness. We viewed a couple of houses yesterday and are hopefully going to be renting a 2 bed house in Caerphilly. While this is going to be great for us as a couple it's going to be fantastic for me as a gamer. I'll be a 15 minute walk away from my good friend and fellow gamer Dean and I'll have my very own mancave / gaming room! I'm already planning out in my mind where the permanent 6x4 table will go, where the display cabinets should be and just how many posters I can fit onto the walls, exciting times!

Friday, 4 January 2013

2012 in review / Looking to 2013

Another year down and blimey it's been an action-packed one on reflection! I haven't really managed to paint a huge quantity of models but I feel that the quality of what I have completed has improved on the previous year. Here's a quick look at some of my highlights...

On the blog front I managed 91 posts which isn't too bad, there were some failed attempts at regular features, but the white dwarf reviews continued along with my hobby 'progress'.

I just checked and last January I didn't actually make any new years resolutions so I'm going to set some out here for 2013.

1. Write 100 posts! That breaks down to two per week and should be manageable. I'll be trying to continue with my weekly updates and monthly WD articles so this leaves space for random thoughts and things along the way.

2. Paint more! I'm setting a target of 50 painting points for this year. A single miniature counts as 1pt and tanks/flyers/terrain count as 2pts. On paper this doesn't sound like too much, in practice I think it'll be a close call.

3. Finish Dreadfleet. This ties in with resolution #2 but I really need to do something with this great game.

4. Paint more than I buy! This one is going to be the hardest to achieve. I'm the first to hold my hands up and admit I'm an addict, but I'm slowly getting fed up with playing with unpainted models. In a months time my girlfriend and I are hopefully moving to a bigger place and I've been promised a mancave. The plan is the have a gaming table set up permanently and filled with fully painted terrain, so I can't have my army letting the side down.

So there we have it, 4 goals, 12 months, I can do it! Hope you all have a fantastic year, what resolutions have you made?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Warllama Weekly Issue 6

17th - 30th December 2012

Yes there will be the photos of the leaked White Dwarf Dark Angels a bit later on in this post, I'm sure everyone has seen them by now so they can be left until last. To kick things off I thought I'd update you on how the competition to hit 100 followers is going. I'm up to 59 and am amazed at how many people stop by to have a read of my little slice of cyberspace, thank you all!

Towards the start of the first week I had some free time and got the first two members of the Dark Angel tactical squad. The armour doesn't quite 'pop' as much as I'd have liked but I think I cracked how to paint the chest aquillas and bolters to a decent standard. I'm looking forward to finishing the rest of the squad very soon.

Just before christmas I had a game with my Grey Knights against my friends necrons. We set up my wall of martyrs on a 4x4 and went at it. My game was even more off than usual with plenty of rulebook referencing and a poor showing from my silver astartes. I kind of came to the conclusion that I'm not using the basic strike squad correctly. I have been just throwing them forward as they're armed with the same assault weapons as palladins and terminators, forgetting that there's no invuln or better stats than an average marine. The next time I get them on the table I'll be hanging them back to provide covering fire for my palladins instead. To help with the gaps in the army though I bought a box of five purifiers. I'd already armed my strike squad and termies in a sub-optimal way just to get the maximum variety and painting opportunity, so I've gone for possibly the most beardy loadout I've ever done for these guys.

For Christmas my kind and wonderful girlfriend got me a few GW treats, the Necron and Chaos marine codexes and a bastion. I'd had the codexes in dubious quality before but nothing beats flicking through a real book, the artwork looks so much better and the full colour of the chaos book is lush. I managed to get a fair amount of work done on the bastion and will try to get it finished ready for next weeks weekly.

I'll be following this post up fairly quickly with a 2012 in review post which should be quite interesting to see what I've achieved and setting out what I'd like to achieve in 2013.

Now for some Dark Angels goodness and a bit of commentary to go with it, enjoy...

 This chap looks both amazing and slightly off. The ornamentation on his armour and banner is brilliant but I can't help feeling like his pose could've been a bit more dynamic. He could end up looking a little static next to the highly posed Deathwing.
 This cover looks fantastic and I'm really looking forward to reading this. I've never spent much time reading about DA except for their handful of appearances in the Horus Heresy but those insights into their background really whet my appetite.
 This is the Dark Talon and the Nephaiam (?!) fighter look sweet. Will have to take a serious look at the rules to see which option I want to build first as I'll only be getting one kit (to start with)
 These Black Knights and the command squad that goes with them are really nice. I like that there's finally something other than bolters attached to the bike and the standard bearer's banner seems like it'll be great fun to paint.
Saving the my contoversial until last it's the Land Speeder Vengeance. People seem outraged at this model, in particular the first circular turret and gunner. I personally love it, it looks like a beast! Seems like a lot of people failed to suspend their disbelief when they saw this and started arguing about how impractical it looks, who cares it's a bad ass tooled up skimmer for a science fantasy wargame.

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic new year!