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Lady Aiyana and Master Holt – diorama start

Since I quite enjoyed the Beastman and Greatsword diorama, I decided to take a stab at another. While I have a few lying around, I haven’t really painted to completion any Warmachine or Hordes models. So, I decided to get a couple out and give them life on a little scenic diorama.

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I chose Lady Aiyana and Master Holt. It is important to realise from the outset, I have no idea who these two are. But they were in the same blister, and looked like interesting models in their own rights. Also, they aren’t in battle poses, so I could create more of an atmospheric piece. Above is where the diorama is currently at. Let us explore how we got to this point.

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The rocky outcrop is made using building insulation polystyrene. I liberated a small offcut from a building site down the road at the start of the year. The polystyrene was cut roughly into shape and glued to a 40mm circular base. I then glued smaller pieces to it to create the ledges and outcrops. A couple of these, where a portion of a miniature would stand, I reinforced with a piece of brass rod. Also, much like the previous diorama, I added a dried branch to add a bit of height.

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Once the polystyrene was dry I filled in any gaps with wood filler. After this had dried I coated all the polystyrene areas with a layer of PVA glue, to prevent damage to the shape when I undercoated the piece.

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Next I added a couple of sizes of small terrain covering to the tops of the outcrops. I didn’t want to cover the entire thing, as the sides would be the solid rock, while on top would be loose dirt and gravel. While I was at it, I added a rat to one of the ledges on the back.

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Lets take a second to look under the base. I drilled a hole through the centre of the base, and when gluing on the polystyrene I also glued in this bolt. It is a little crooked, but I gave it a quick test and I still get the result I want. What result, you ask? You will have to wait until the end to see.

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With the terrain scatter dried I sprayed the base white. Then, I gave all the rock outcrop section a basecoat of grey, while giving the tree a watered down bone layer. I then painted brown onto the ground covering, also applying a watered down layer of the brown to the tree. The ground cover was then drybrushed in random sections with an ochre red, black and white. This was to create an irregular look, rather than have all the ground covering unifom.

The rocky outcrop I mottled on white, black and a lighter grey, and then stippled water over the colours while they were still a little wet.

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When the base was dry I used PVA glue to stick static grass and model railway bushes randomly about the outcrop. While doing this I placed the miniatures onto the base, so that I didn’t place any of the details in a position that would make adding in the miniatures awkward.

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As for the models themselves, they were very straight forward. Lady Aiyana is a single piece, and required only the most minimal cleaning. Master Holt comes in three pieces, his two forearms with hands and weapons, and his body. These had a ball join on the end of the forearms that inserted into a cup on the body. I decided to slice off the ball join and insert pins instead. Once this was dry I used greenstuff to fill the minor gaps that were left.

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As with the base, I undercoated both figures white. This was followed by a watered down layer of bone, to provide the foundation for the rest of the colours.

I am happy with how this new diorama is progressing, and can hopefully get back to it quite soon.

Time for the rats to leave their mothers

…and by mothers I mean the painting table.

I’m pretty happy with how they’ve turned out and I have learnt a lot about quick painting techniques along the way. It’s just a pity that so much got in between me and getting the little furries finished off. Well they aren’t completely finished… I haven’t got around to the bases yet, mainly because I have absolutely no basing materials yet. I intend to paint a few more things and then organise basing everything in one big group.

I definitely like the ones that I initially painted in darker colours better. The ones I did with the lighter cloth turned out having less depth, so I’ll definitely have to build up from black or something next time.

What’s next on the table? I’m not sure at the moment, but I am feeling the pull to get back into Warmachine / Hordes. There aren’t too many FB players left over here at the moment and WM/H wins over 40K for me. Maybe I’ll be back to post my reasons soon.

Anyway, on to the pictures:

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The Adventurers begin their journey

A quick update shot of the three Adventurers before they get a basecoat. I really liked adding the little details of what they were carrying. The Wizard looked a little bare with his huge blank cloak, so I gave him a ponderously huge backpack made from a Gnoblar model. In here is where he keeps all his wizarding components, and possibly more besides.

About that time of year…

Well, it has been 6 months between blog posts for me, so it is a good thing that Matt is running this show and keeping everyone entertained.

It was a difficult 6 months, but now most of the trouble causing issues are finally to rest. For example, I may now call myself Dr. Brad.

Anyway, back to the title of the post. In the Northern Hemisphere Winter is fast approaching and bringing along Christmas with it. Now, I am not entirely sure what it is about this time of year, but it always spurred me to work on my wargaming hobby more. This was also the case in Australia and I assume it proceeded in this manner due to the long Summer school and university holidays I always had. Of course, painting through the Summer in Australia can be extremely annoying as the paint would often dry on the brush before it got near the miniature! Any of you find that your hobby interest waxes and wanes with the seasons?

The other subject I would like to address in this returning post is the attitude of people within the hobby and particularly on message boards dedicated to it. It is so amazing how juvenile people can be when discussing things like rules, background and even the GW release schedule. I have seen people post that GW must hate X or Y army due to it ‘getting bumped down’ the release schedule. The only topic people seem to be able to discuss without behaving like children is painting and modeling. As someone who has been on the outer of the hobby for some time now, such attitudes have presented a barrier to re-entry. Now I know that a lot of wargamers are very nice and reasonable people and one should not judge a community by its online presence, but if I were to compare to board game forums or even guitar forums, then the wargaming community is way behind. For those whose only exposure to the community are GW stores and online forums, then what sort of pervasive attitude are we expecting them to develop?

They’re multiplying

It has been a while since my last post and a lot has happened in the meantime in real life. This blog is about wargaming happenings though, so I’ll stick to that.

My progress since the last post amounts to this:

First box of clanrats built

Please excuse the photo, it’s late and I don’t have a proper camera setup here yet.

Not much progress, but I’m happy with the fact I can get on with a bit of painting now.

I thought I would talk a bit about how I am going to tackle painting the regiment. With my previous painting projects I have always undercoated with white or black sprays prior to painting. For the test models I simply brushed on Fenris grey as the first layer and found that it covered very well and was easy to cover with the white flesh colours. So the plan is to pick three or four different foundation paints to use as the base layer and vary up the tunic colours amongst the unit. The skin colour and metal will remain consistent to tie the unit together.

Hopefully I’ll have something to show within the week in regards to painting. Til next time.

AVCon: Warhammer panel

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In an effort to provide as full a platter of Warhammer as I can, I braved the chill climate and conspicuous assassins in the city and went down to AVCon yesterday. AVCon is the anime and video game convention in Adelaide, and because I am a mighty nerd with connections coming out my every port, I managed to somehow get a free two day pass.

The bulk of the convention deals with anime and video games, not strictly the bag of Warhammer. Though I did pick up a cheap Warhammer comic from the Pulp Fiction Comics stall, so there is that.

Just a brief review on AVCon before I get the the Warhammer proper.

This year it was held in the Adelaide Convention Centre, an excellent venue and one that they can use to pull in bigger exhibitors and sponsors. It also beats the confusing multi-level anarchy that was the old Adelaide Uni venue. Plus, the Convention Centre doesn’t start to stink out after four hours of massed cosplay geekness. Bonus!

I really like where AVCon is headed, and it will be interesting to see where they can take it in the future.

On to the Warhammer specific content!

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While the convention was mainly anime and video game centric, there was one panel tucked away in the middle of the day. The Warhammer 40k and Warhammer panel. So I took myself along to see what was on show.

It was an hour panel run by Michael and Jennifer Chill. Michael being the Warhammer fanatic, and Jennifer being the Warhammer Widow.

First up, the panel started late. They were having some technical trouble with a camera setup, but honestly, I don’t think that this should have stopped them. The camera wasn’t central to the panel, so they could have forged on while it was worked out.

Once it started, the presentation (really, it was a presentation more than a panel) covered all the basic facets of the hobby. Background and overview on the games, modelling, army selection and painting, in that order. Then there was a (brief) questions and answers section. All this was interspersed with a model making competition, and a speed painting competition.

These two things were probably the most memorable parts of the event. The model making competition in particular was fascinating, as each competitor had a selection of bits and had to construct a model. There were certainly some odd creations, and the winner was a deserved amalgamation of Empire Militiaman, Tyranid and Orc. Yes, it was built by a noob, but it was just so outrageous everyone felt it deserved the award.

The presentaion propers was, disorganised, at best. I’m not looking to bring down those involved, Michael in particular, but I think they realises it didn’t run quite as well as it could have. If you are going to front a room of Warhammer nerds, you have to command the room. Unfortunately, I think Michael didn’t. In fact, I think Jennifer was engaging the audience a lot better than Michael! He had a tendency to drone a bit, which made it easy for the room to lose focus easily.

It didn’t help that Michael was talking in general terms. At the start of the panel it was established that the bulk of the room were veterans, and I don’t think that being told about the basics was really interesting them. It might be worth, in future, trying to run two or three panels. An introductory panel, as well as a veterans panel. Panels specific to Warhammer and 40k would be even better.

It wasn’t all bad though. In fact, it was really quite good. It had a relaxed atmosphere about it, and when addressed the panelists answered questions informatively. Obviously Michael has been playing for a while and loves his Warhammer, and it shows. And that is good to see. That is what you want in a host. But the late start and disorganisation really hurt the whole thing. A really skilled speaker could have pulled it all together, but obviously it was all a bit beyond Michael abilities. I do hope he runs another panel again next year, though. It’s just like Warhammer itself, a little practise and you get your head around whats going on, and it becomes a lot easier.

Onward troops, smoke them from their holes

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Little bit of love done to the Ratling Gun today. I used Mithril Silver to highlight some of the metal sections, as well as to remove some of the rust effect. I didn’t like that the rust as covering 99% of the metal sections. A clan symbol in green was added to the left shoulder guard of  the gunner as well as onto the power pack carried by the subordinate. All I have left to do is their teeth, highlight the sleeve of the gunner a little, and do a little more work on the larger rock on the base. After this, I think I will be pretty happy.

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Also made a start on the Warpfire Thrower and the Globadier. At the moment I have just done a layer of Bestial Brown, Elf Flesh and Khemri Brown. Chainmail will be the next colour on. I’m quite happy with them so far.

Fishmen and chips

Last post I made an offhand ‘punchline’ comment about fishmen. Offhand, but accurately reflecting my opinion. Sigmar replied wanting to know what was wrong with fishmen, and letting me know that he had been working on his own ‘fishmen’ project. I’m all about bringing the truth, especially where Warhammer and this blog is concerned, so his “Let me know what you think” response has yielded my honest opinion.

Firstly, thanks go to Sigmar for commenting. I appreciate it a lot, as I have seen my readship stats climb, but no one (bar a couple of people) leave any comments. It’s nice to know that someone outside of my immediate circle of friends is reading this. In fact, I thank everyone who has been reading this. It’s good to know that my random spouts and miniature photos are digestible to the mainstay of the community.

Lets start with the general fishmen concept. As I tried to summarise in my initial reply, fishmen, as a concept generally presented by the fan community, is a very poor one. Whenever you read about fans going on about “Do fishmen next” and “You should totally do fishmen” it is almost guaranteed that the statement will be followed by a fountain of half-arsed, unoriginal and stereotyped cliches. Especially in this time of human learning, this is bad. No real thought past dozen of lame ideas that haven’t been fully been weighed are presented.

To be fair, these expressions of interest are just that. Fans expressing interest in the pursuit of an idea. But the fans are either sinking the idea they are promoting by recycling generic concepts, or just not contributing at all. Either way, they are harming the chances of anyone at GW taking notice, especially since the Games Developers are trying to take Warhammer in a direction away from generic fantasy.

On to Sigmar’s project. Like I have said before, I support fan projects of all kinds, and I applaud his enthusiasm and drive to pursue this project. However, where slotting new content into an established setting is concerned, I am a task master.  It is worth noting that my target is Sigmar’s army concept and execution, and not the army list itself. I understand that the list is a work in progress, and that work will continue to make it fair and balanced.

Where should I start?

My major problem is that it seems only 5% of the true potential of this idea has been explored. When it comes to creating a new race, army, whatever, I firmly believe that if you get down the particulars of the concept and background first, the rules should easily follow. It is easier to create the army list content from sensible background than shoehorning scattershot rules and units into an army concept and making it all fit together nicely.

Initially, my thoughts about the Nauticans turns to their motivations and means. From what I gather, they hate Daemons (incidentally, if they hate Chaos and Daemons and have existed on the Warhammer world since the beginning of time, how could they have access to magic to banish the Daemons? Isn’t magic derived from Chaos?), but what is their motivation to come up out of the deep oceans and wage war on land? I’m afraid pure hatred isn’t going to cut it. No one in Warhammer is that black and white.

Whats more, by what means do they come out onto land? They live in the Ocean. Land dwellers can’t just slip into the water and run about fighting battles, how do the Nauticans do it? Magic? If so, concievably a powerful spellcaster could just dispell their magical breathing apparatus. Given that their major enemy is the Daemons, they are coming against a slew of mighty spellcasters. Can they breath on land and in the water? How can that be? That seems a little fortuious doesn’t it? A little deus ex machina? Magic is a lazy way of explaining things, and your opening yourself up to a bunch of other problems.

Add to this mix the armies odd land based troop choices. A mermaid? A leviathan? Aren’t these swimming animals? Magic again? There’s a manta ray there too. Oh, it flies. Of course. I’ve often seen manta rays out there, gliding along with the seagulls. Where the troops are concerned, the problem is arising because a collection of generic archetypes (mermaids, leviathans) and poorly realised substitutes (manta rays = Screamers of Tzeentch, Crest Riders = Skinks, for instance) are being pushed together, they just aren’t gelling. Instead what is appearing is a hopeless mish-mash.

What saddens me most is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We are talking about the deep ocean here, a place that in our world is already inhabited by bizarre and shocking offshoots of natural selection. Things like Horseshoe Crabs, Angler Fish, Giant Isopod and the many other creatures down there. These are all things you can draw inspiration from. Your job is not to just rip off stereotypes and nature and transplant them into a game, but select attributes and characteristics and build a story around these that is interesting and functional.

Clearly the inspiration for Nauticans comes mainly from old sea tales and Disney cartoons. This is fine, but they shouldn’t be the only source. Nature, other cultures beliefs of the sea, and logical thinking are all things that should play their part.

So basically, to summarise. At the moment, the Nauticans as they currently stand is a very basic start. They are just a transplant of standard Western culture about sea monsters. They need to go far beyond this, assimilating into the Warhammer world and slipping into the current history so that when they strike from the sea and butcher the land races, they are rightly feared.

The old folk home for intellectual property

As well as doing a bit of knight painting today, I was also looking at this.

It’s interesting to see what Games Workshop thought were good ideas in the past. It also makes you think, in ten years, what will they have gotten rid of from the current crop of  intellectual properties that we all think of a terrific ideas now? Will Tomb Kings or Wood Elves be around, for instance? Will they divide up another army into two or three armies? Will they introduce a completely new one?

As it stands at  the moment, I’m sure you think that they have all the armies they need, and that it doesn’t need expanding. To be honest, this is what I thought when we just had ‘Undead’. But that was split into Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts, and it works great. Lizardmen and Ogre Kingdoms were introduced out of nowhere. Two civilisations that just popped up over night. One that helped found the world!

To be honest, I don’t mind if they add new armies, take them out or divide them up. Just as long as they don’t put in fishmen.

Today, in the past

I started working on the next Knight of the Realm standard bearer yesterday, but didn’t get to do anything to it today. Instead of painting, I had to go sit in a club for 4  or 5 hours and pretend to be a crime boss. Yes, my first ‘big’ movie role. Wow.

The script I had went for one whole page. A whole page! That’s like, 6 lines. Hugh Jackman, watch out.

So today I have for you something else.

Last year Miniature Wargamers Union put together a short documentary on Warhammers history, which you can watch on YouTube.

The History of Warhammer Pt1
The History of Warhammer Pt2

I’m 28 at the moment, and have been playing Warhammer for around 14 years now. 14 years! I’ll admit that the bulk of that time was playing with no real idea about the rules, but that’s by-the-by. So I have been involved for a bit over half of Warhammers life. And it becomes more apparent with each and every day.

For the last couple of days I have been participating in a thread on the UnderEmpire forum, where a new guy asked for some models to be identified. They were the old 4th edition plastic ‘clone’ Skaven. Some of the posters maintained that they were available in Heroquest, or were older than the plastic Skaven that came in Advanced Hero Quest. Pish-posh! No Skaven in Heroquest! Warhammer Quest, yes. But Heroquest? I think not.

This basically made me realise, I know roughly the order in which tiny plastic ratmen were made available for public purchase. This is a helpful skill how?

For the sheer dubiousness of it, I decided to finish off with this.