Monday, 30 May 2011

A Bit Random

I am slowly working my way through the Napoleonic battlion.

Cue blurry picture.

Two days of work, and I am still two or three colours away from finishing the base colour.

During the breaks in painting I have been faffing about on the internet.

I have an admission to make. I stumbled across a rumour thread on Warseer duscussing rumours for the new Ogre book and found myself getting giddy with excitement at the prospect of a new book.

I love the idea of Leadbelchers being mobile cannon. I am excited at the prospect of Rhinox riders. I am a little confused at the rumoured gaint/cart thing with gnoblars riding in/on it. But on the whole there is nothing that I have seen that is objectionable.

Other than that I have been working on a list for the 1500 tournament.

You don't get many Ogres at that points level do you? ;-)

Oh well I guess I will have to see if I can arrange a few games to see what works and what doesn't - there are a few birthday parties coming up and I might be able to wangle a couple of Saturdays at the FLGS, while the kids get sick on jelly and cake.

Oh the other thing that is worthy of note, is that I have been looking into getting a case for the Ogres. The case I currently have them in is ok - I bought it at a convention a couple of years ago for £20. The main problem with it is that it doesn't have a shoulder strap.

I have said it before, I am a fan of KR multicase. Though I am not a fan of there tray selector program which is frankly confusing.

I sent them an email, including my army composition, asking if they could recommend what I would need.

According to them, I need three of their cases. I was so shocked that I emailed back asking them to confirm that they were really recommending that I needed three cases.

It's just weird. Either the £20 case I already have is the tardis, or KR have confused me with a supermodel that never goes anywhere without a lackey to push my airport style luggage trolley.


Pseudo Rage

So finecast is here.

And as expected the internut is alive with people complaining.

Now excuse me for stating the obvious, but did anyone think that the first batch of minis would be the best?

Still after weeks of being told that GW gives you cancer, the figures were going to be cast from the same moulds as the metal figures, and numerous other things - it now becomes clear as to why the new models are more expensive; there is a large number of seconds.

Which was my prediction.

Of course when I made it, the internut heroes jumped up and down claiming that resin is cheaper than metal, and therefore the price should be cheaper.

What people have overlooked is that the cost of a product is not purely reliant on raw materials.

A good example I stumbled upon was someone claiming that it was outragious that in 1998 a codex cost £4, and now it cost £20. In support of this arguement they ran a calculation on the cost per page, and for an extra flourish postulated on the possible cost of the ink. Which is fine if you ignore the actual costs involved - like paying the writers and illustrators etc.

Of course this being a witch hunt anyone daring to contradict the herd - by pointing out they have been wrong thus far, and are being hysterical now - are being shouted down. heaven for fend that anyone find a hole. Despite that if you take it back to the shop they are apparently happy to exchange the model. But since the order of the day is nerd rage, the heroic defenders of the 'community' start banging on about how this is costing the retailers yadda, yadda, yadda....

To call the present climate pathetic is rather an understatement.


Friday, 27 May 2011

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Listing Grievances

First a blurry picture of some toy soldiers...

Yes that's right folks, I have finally got around to doing some more work on my Napoleonic French. The sabretaches, jackets and moustaches are missing from the pic, but have been painted and attached in the meantime, and the unit looks suitably toy soldierly.... Charles Grant would be proud.

I finally have got around to cracking open the infantry boxes and have started work on my first infantry battalion.

It would be unfair to call this is a problem, but I was struck by how different the Victrix and Perry miniatures are - obviously as I am using Peninsular war Victrix, and post Russian invasion Perry's, there is a difference in uniforms - I can hear the tutting from the purists. However the poses between the two are also rather different, with the Victrix tending to be rather more static and reminding me of rather old school Minifigs... which is not a bad thing. The other main difference is the Victrix have thicker bases, which makes them look taller, when in fact they are the same height.

Still I am not going to worry too much about this, as my aim when starting this army was to build an army that had the ragtag appearance of being on campaign.

36 man units are also rather daunting to paint.

Wandering off on a side track for a moment, I listened to an interview with Rick Priestly on SoCal radio last night. They were discussing his latest rule book, Hail Ceasar, which is an ancients version of the Black Powder rules. And Pat from SoCal being Pat from SoCal it wasn't long before he wanted to know if their was going to be a suppliment for Hail Ceasar containing lists.... because that's right people.... it is impossible to have a fun wargame unless someone has told you what you can do, prescribed how many points each side has, and ensured that in future forums relating to your game will have jerks telling you that you are doing your hobby wrong.

Later, I got a mild dose of grey plastic fever and went over to the Warlord games website to indulge in a little casual pricing, and thought I would drop in on the forum and see what people are saying about Black Powder. And guess what? There were people there banging on about when there would be suppliments for the rules.

The grognard within me cried, 'sacre bleu!'.... before adding, 'merde!'.... I no doubt would have said many other things, except other than 'Amelie' and 'Cyrano de Bergerac,' the only other French I know is, 'can you direct me to the railway station' - 'voules vous coucher avec moi ce soir'.

Not because I dislike 'balanced' games, but rather that list writers generally produce lists for idiots - i.e. they strip out the fun, and reduce everything to a common ground.

I claim to be no great expert on the Penisualar War, but I do know the reason the French came on in the same old way, and were seen off in the same old way, was because a) the Napoleonic Empire was overstretched, b) the army in Spain was fairly raw and of generally poor quality due constant replacement of casualties (the death toll on the French sides was enormous through savation, disease and the activities of the guerillas), and c) the tactics of attacking in column was generally effective for the handling of poorly trained troops.

Therefore when I read Black Powder I was thinking to myself how can I best replicate how I think the French army in Spain would perform.

I like that in the rules the French are given the reliable rule when in column of attack. But my plan was to go further by classing large numbers of the infantry as Freshly Raised - meaning that the first time they are asked to do something, you roll a dice to see if they are hero's or zero's - but I also like the idea that they are Unreliable if they are in anything other than column of attack. Plus there are a few of the other special rules that I would like to play around with.

Now no doubt, people attracted to the Black Powder rule set are not the power gamers which have blighted other rule sets - and I don't just mean GW products here - but I can't help thinking that as soon as the suppliment comes out the urge to experiment, and the fight one sided battles, or campaigns, or whatever will be sucked into the void of 'competative play'.

At which point I will stop before the veins in my neck explode... not least because it is some time before my 3 battalion brigades, with attached 4 pounder guns, assault the Thin Red Line in mixed order before either heroically sweeping the British away, or messing about in a confused mass.... as I have to paint the stuff first.... standards, don't you know.

Oh and I obviously don't dislike competative play that much as I have tentatively signed up for a tournament with my Ogres. 1500 points... lol... which is like 3 ogres and 10 gnoblars. Meh.... I didn't chose Ogres to win.

And in truth I don't dislike competative play, what I dislike is what competative play does to the hobby.

Enough rambling... time to crack open the white foundation and ruin some more brushes by trying primer undried glue.

Happy gaming.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Snow to Resin

Having mentioned it in the last few posts...

The Ogres.

This is roughly three quarters of the army, I have another unit of Bulls and a unit of Gnoblars to paint and two Scraplaunchers to finish.

A view from above to show the snowy bases.

The snowy bases were something I have never tried before.

Here's a close up of the base.

I wanted an effect of melting snow.

I may to a step-by-step guide, but the basics are that I covered the based in PVA, stuck ont he rocks and then added the sand. To strenghten the bond I gave it a good covering of superglue.

When that was dried, I painted/dry brushed Scorched Brown, before spotting/highlighting with Vallejo Orange and added patched of static grass.

A mixture of plaster and PVA was added to the peaks and ridges of the stones. When this dried I used Windsor and Newton Ultramarine Blue as a shading tone - I missed this stage on the first few figures but the snow effect looked too white and too flat.

Next I used Vallejo snow foam. The bottle says it is a foam, but it is more like a thick paint.

The final stage was to add water effects to the recesses and to the patched that I had left free of snow.

I'm rather pleased with the final outcome.

In other news GW has provoked a new outburst of moaning by releasing a FineCast.

I was a little taken aback by the language used in their announcement, why is best described as a little flowery and gushing - even by GW's standards. The GW writing style is very strange generally, I consider myself well read and literate but until I started Black Library novels I was unaware that the verb, heft, was quite so common.

What I didn't understand from the announcement was whether or not the new resin is toxic. Indeed there is so much about the new resin models that I don't understand. Some people claim that the new figures with shatter, others say it won't; some say the product is toxic, other's say it isn't; some people even say that the new figures are not even resin.

It's a case of wait and see.

Oh yeah... and there is moaning about the price.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

GW makes zombies

The rapture has been and gone, and the world hasn't ended.

But perhaps some of the end of times spirit has taken grip over the wargaming 'community' - (oh how I hate that word)

The latest of the four horsemen to ride into view is the news - ok it is hardly news, as it happened a few days ago - that the Beasts of War channel has been removed from utube.

Tongues - or more precisely fingers - have been wagging. And in the abscence of a real explanation the rumour mill is blaming GW.

The theory appears to be based on the Beasts of War boys jumping on the bandwagon and going off the deep end about the price rises and the embargo - because it's just not right that Austrailians pay the same 2% of average earnings for an army that people in the US and the UK have to pay. And because Daryl or Warren got too lippy, GW legal has stepped in and closed the channel, on the grounds that they were showing copyright and trademark products without permission, out of spite.

I will admit that I haven't watched Beasts of War for ages, so I have no idea what they said.

I stopped watching Beasts of War because it was all a bit stoopid really.

On one show they would moan and bitch, using every trope and meme, about GW and in the very next show they would interview Alessio Cavatore, give him metaphorical fallatio and say how wonderful the Kings of War rules are (you may get an idea of when I stopped watching). Which is fine, except who was responsible for all the stuff that they were moaning about in the previous show?

CSM anyone?

Ok Beasts of War, I get it, buy Mantic from Wayland Games, and don't buy GW - and I shall just ignore the GW content that you use to draw an audience. (Which sounds remarkably similar to Mantic's marketing strategy ;-))

Still just because I don't watch it, doesn't mean that they don't have an audience - and good luck to them.

And let's hope they get the video issue sorted out soon, so I can continue not watching them out of principle, and not because they are no longer available.

Perhaps the funniest thing about the Evil Empire supposedly moving in to take out the Beasts of War Jihadists is that on Dakka, or it might have been Warseer, the rumour got rolling, and the GW haters started chipping in and building it, someone pointed out that this was yet another sign of GW having terrible PR and that they should make a statement.

Yeah, that's right GW. Come clean about your involvement in the Tsunami, 9/11, and the crimes of Pinochet.

And it's all GW's fault that they can send a man to the moon, but my shoes still smell bad.... sweet Venus.... *drool*

Btw, I have finished basing the Ogres, and now all I need to do is to find out what my threeager has done with the batteries for the camera.... not to mention my philips screwdriver, The Saint collection by Dan Abnett, countless socks, my Lamy fountain pen....


ps, Ryan Giggs.

pps Giles Coren.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Cheap Crack

So the rage rages on.

As in all surges of moral panic those springing to the defence of their antipodian compatriots are seeking the high ground by accusing GW of being unethical.

What makes this all the more amusing is the tendancy to suggest that Mantic, PP and Wyrrd will all benefit from this as people jump wholesale from the good ship GW - as it heads for the supposed ice berg. Supposedly these companies are upstanding examples of all that is good and ethical in wargaming - games companies run by gamers for gamers.

Which makes me wonder why all of them have signed business deals with that most unethical of companies, Battlefoam.

Say what you like about GW, I don't recall them sueing a competitor to put them out of business, and fabricating evidence as a key part of their legal case. Yet for some reason this is over looked by companies such as Mantic, PP and Wyrrd - and indeed their customers. No doubt because they have bought in Battlefoam's spiel about offering the 'community' (how Private Eye would love that) the best deal possible. Which no doubt explains why Battlefoam bags are sold in the UK on a pound for dollar basis - which depending on exchange rates is rather a large rip off (note - this was the case when I was considering buying one, before the legal shenanigans with Outrider, and before I bought and fell in love with KR Multicase).

Last evening I wandered over the wargamerAU forums to have a read of their take on matters - expecteed to find the same levels of outrage as is being generated elesewhere.

Surprisingly - or not - the reaction was far more balanced. And though the thread was long, it was the same few people banging on about the same subjects as I suspect they are banging on about all over the net. Much of the reaction was simply, 'if you don't like it then don't buy the models,' - which let's face it is the reality of the situation.

Of course this objective reality is not easy in a hobby in which fragile egos compete with each other and in doing so gain a sense of entitlement. And is amplified and magified by the group think mentality of forums. Which is great if you think of it in terms of investment in a game but not really likely to lead to a rational response - not unlike when I used to follow Norwich - going to every home match, and as many away matches as I could - I recall getting into a pointless discussion with some numpty who reckoned I wasn't a proper supporter because I had never been to Old Trafford.

Which I guess is the point at which being a fan crosses over into being a fanatic.

No doubt this will run and run - and perhaps there may even be a victory for Austalian gamers.

Though on the same forum I noticed that the Austalian PP distributer has gone into liquidation, apparently the business wasn't very well run, but it is ironic given that the response of every change by GW is people saying they will buy Hordes/Warmachine.

My Ogres are looking nice - I really do have to take some pics.


Friday, 20 May 2011

Nerd Rage

It's been a while since I have updated here, for which the blame lies entirely with Creative Assembly.

Oh and I had a touch of grey plastic disease.

Much as I am still inspired to get painting the boxes of Perry plastic Napoleonic French, the prospect of actually doing them drove me to seek solace in Empire Total War, and of late the far superor Shogun 2 - and the figs have lain unpainted in the cupboard. Of course the cure for grey plastic disease is to by fewer models on a more regualr basis - it will still take the same two years or so to get the army finished, but the binge painting followed by gaming malaise, the main symptoms of grey plastic disease, will be avoided.

However in the past week or so I have been inspired via various podcasts - principally Jaded Gamercast - to revisit my Ogres. Like all such projects when I went in search of the long rejected models I was pleasantly pleased with the painting, and have been working on the bases - pictures to follow.

Since I am your typical gamer, no sooner do I start painting again, then I begin to daydream of new ways to spend money to get more stuff - despite promising myself that I would not buy any more figures until I have painted the French.

Which brings to the topic of the moment - GW prices.

Nerds the world over have gone into apoplectic rage over the double whammy of the price increase and the change to the retailer contract.

The general response has been 'I will never buy another GW product again!!!!!!!!' which leaves me thinking - 'yeah right'.


I realise that GW is the essence of all evil, and the end of days is fast approaching but I do find myself wondering at the mentality of those gripped by the rapture.

For instance, one of the chief memes of the small memebered macho types that proliferate on forums is that the price rise will stop new people getting into the hobby - THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!. The basis of the arguement is that new people are put off when they are told that they need to shell out £500 to get a tournament ready army.

Uh hellooooo....

If anything keeps people out of the hobby, it is this notion that there is only one way to do the hobby and that an army has to be a certain size, or you just can't play. Oh and you have to have all the army books. And you have to have this, and that, and you are some kind of moron if you have spent £75 on a unit of Pumbagores, because that is one ugly model... and why the hell are you playing Beastmen anyway?

I do wonder how many people making the argument that price rises drive people out of the hobby, have ever tried to get a person interested by splitting a starter box, and running an exculation campaign over a number of months. I suspect not many, as they are too busy with the collectable figure game of net list building, and dreaming of the day that Warhammer is televised on mainstream TV with a professional league.

And yes, it does look bad that a box of goblins has gone up 16% - or whatever - but on the other hand it is £2 - or whatever - or @20% less - or whatever - than a latte and pepperoni pizza from Greggs. Yes I do find myself balking at the notion of spending £50 odd for a horde of Night Goblins with fanatics - can you guess which army I am looking at next - but then the price rise equates to a bottle Terranto negromara from Booths (currently half price) - *drool* - and if I want the models that is the price (well it isn't really, since I buy online, so the bigger the price rise the bigger the discount, so I'm only really looking at three a bit bottles of Banks Fine Fettle (can you guess my other main hobby?)).

I am old enough to know that complaining about prices is pretty pointless. Those saying they are going to quit - and usually follow this up with the virtues of Privateer Press, which just makes Hordes and Warmachine look like a game for whiney berks - reminds me of people who swore they would stop smoking when 20 fags cost £1, or would give up Mars bars when they reached 15p.

And it's pretty much the same for the other news.

There has been outrage around the internut at the news that Maelstrom has fallen out with another of it's suppliers, and being Maelstrom they have taken the opportunity to play the gamers champion.

When Battlefront refused to trade with them for breaking discount agreements, were there tankheads up in arms at the conglomerate behind Flames of War, Gale Force 9, Wargames Illustrated et al?

Uh no.

Not a dicky bird.

Despite the fact that Maelstrom were dropped by Battlefront for exactly the same reason as GW are ditching them - or they are ditching GW - breaking discount agreements.

At which point enter stage left the Xenophobes.

Apparently it is an outrage that GW haven't noticed that Britian is not a world power anymore (as if anyone in Britain gives a toss about such matter) and various Ned Kelly and Paul Reveirre types - i.e cowardly nurks, who for various reason have gone down in history as heroes - have been running around in defence of their compatriots of convict ancestory saying that it is an outrage that they can no longer smuggle product from.... uh? Britain.

Don't get me wrong, I have sympathy for Austrailians who are paying twice the price for the same product. I just don't see that it is something to get rabid about.

Even more humourous are those people - revolutionary types - particularly in the US who reckon that they will take up the slack and start their own internet buiness... which is not just closing the door when the horse has bolted - it's shutting the door, jumping on the imaginery horse and running into the door.

I mentioned on this blog - or it might have been in a moment of internet warriory elsewhere - but I recall when Island of Blood was launched saying that the UK internet retailers would clean up. The reasons were pretty simple, and only really apply in the UK: cheap postage rates, no local sales taxes, no paranoid faffing about customs duties, a realisation that people exist in the outside world... all of which meant that when you went to the check out, there were no scary surpises awaiting you.... which is precisely why I have never bought anything from the US or indeed anywhere overseas.... even when the exchange rate in theory made doing so the chance to make a killing.

Still the Ogres are now lumbering through the snow and mud on their bases and who knows I may even get a chance to play with them, if I could be bothered to get off my fat posterior and arrange a game at the local club - which now meets in a brand new hobby centre, FLGS (if you will), always assmuing that the place is still open... after all with all these discount online retailers springing up and offering me figures at knockdown prices, there's no guarantee that the shop will keep going by offering discounts within the agreed margins and territories.