Category Archives: Games Workshop

New edition, new inquisitor

With a new edition of 40k I realised I have to build a new Inquisitor. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a character builder – which shouldn’t be a surprise given that I have thirteen Skyrim characters, and ten of them are below level five. And that I can’t quite face building the Skitarii infantry I bought, and seem to instead be embarking on a quest to remove all of my Guardsmen’s heads, replace them with cooler ones, and repaint their fatigues. I’ll er… keep you posted on how that pans out.

So yes, I’m like a lazier, lower-quality version of those Scandinavian guys who build astonishing Inquisimunda warbands all day. I have many Inquisitors, and many retinues, and most of them have managed a couple of games in at least one edition, with varying results. I’ve just last night noticed that the Skitarii vanguard/rangers kit is full of greatcoats with cyborg limbs and arcane weapons – finally a kit perfect for building agents of the Inquisition!

I really wanted my 8th edition Inquisitor to be in a realistic sword-wielding stance, but in all of my bits, I couldn’t find a single suitable right arm, or a leg/torso combination in a fencer’s stance of right leg leading and narrow profile. Everyone in the 40k universe is striding chest first into the enemy, the crazy bastards. Usually with their left foot leading.

So I guess I’m going with striding purposefully chest first into the enemy, head and weapons lowered or maybe pointing accusingly, like the guy on the front of the old Codex: Witch Hunters.

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Too many eyes! You’re toast!

For a head I’ll see if I can track down the Eldar guardian bare head that looks like an anime hero. I’ve used it to good effect before, and I think a young male Inquisitor is the ticket this time. The last two have been ladies.

Pictures soon!

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Eversor!

2017-06-15 13.38.52This is my Eversor assassin, freshly stripped and painted. I love this classic model, it’s a 1995 sculpt and I really prefer it to the new one. The new guy just looks so clean, like a SCUBA diver with a skull mask. This guy looks freaky and unbalanced, with his ape-like posture and huge head and hands. It just looks so… 40K, to me.

Eversor

Here he is undercoated with Army Painter Bone spray.

I couldn’t find his backpack unfortunately so I stuck some daggers on his back to represent the power sword. I went for a Blanchitsu influence with the paintwork, but I’m afraid I went too far over the top and now it just looks like a poor copy of a Blanche mini. I even copied his typical colour palette, although mine is a bit less green than his current stuff. The mis-shapen lump he’s standing on was meant to initially be bricks but I like that it looks like a gruesome pile of meat now.

I hear that in 8th edition Eversor is a beast, and I’ve been using this guy since… well probably since about 1995. Hopefully if/when I get a game in he can tear through some enemies, old school.

Things are looking up

It’s been a fair while since I’ve posted here, and it’s mostly because I’ve been busy with other projects. I’ve been formalising my various art pursuits into a legal and legitimate business. It’s all going very well, if a bit haphazardly. I’m still learning. I’ve had an exhibition, I have several commissions on the go, and I’ve just joined the stable of illustrators for an online SF magazine. So that’s a regular gig! Not much money but every little bit helps and is going into the new account to grow the business. I’ve had to learn a lot of things I didn’t know, and spend some money for set-up and production costs which otherwise might have gone to miniatures gaming.

I say might, because… well, my wargaming and miniature painting hobby is something that I doubt I’ll ever truly abandon, but it’s certainly waned in importance to me over the last few years. I’ve been much more likely to spend my money on art supplies, pizza, going out for a drink, pretty much anything but wargames. I’ve bought one rulebook in the last year (Aetius and Arthur for SAGA) and the only models I’ve bought were some GW Skitarii I got with money from selling some of my collection.

That said: how about that new Warhammer 40k hey?

Looks pretty great to me. I’ve been following the information released on the Warhammer Community page (which is surprisingly entertaining and informative) for a while now, and I have to say, I have not seen one thing that I didn’t like the sound of. Not one. The latest thing to make me happy is the knowledge that every army I sort-of-collect for 40k (Astra Militarum, Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Inquisition) will all be in one book at release, which is soft-cover and not too expensive, and so I can just pick that up and then paint my Eversor and Skitarii projects whenever I feel like it.

In fact I’m so enthused about new 40k that I’m feeling unreservedly positive about Games Workshop games for the first time in what has sadly been many years. I’m thinking I’m going to re-activate my old blog, Warp Signal. I started it when I was really positive about gaming, and I closed it when I started feeling not so positive, and now it feels right to go back and have a rebirth of sorts. I fell out of GW games, by which I mean I stopped buying books, in 5th edition. It’s hard to believe really – it’s been two whole editions since I’ve felt good enough about the whole thing to actually buy a book. And now I think I’ll buy this one, so that’s definitely… something.

Catch you here or there,

Jimmy

List building agony

My Skitarii boxes have arrived, and now I’m faced with the puzzle of how to build them.

One of the things I like least about 40k as a system is the granularity it allows when it comes to equipping troops. I think squads should be treated the way they are in many historical wargaming systems: the equipment on the models is purely cosmetic, and the squad has set abilities. If being able to customise individual weapon loadouts within a squad was removed, I think the game would instantly become much easier to balance, quite a bit quicker to play, and far, far easier to make lists for. If they have any sense then 8th edition will be the one where they finally get rid of the skirmish-game legacy of Rogue Trader. Or at least streamline it.

Anyway, what I’m having trouble with is the bloody special weapons! Yes, I’ve read all the Reddits, and Bolter + Chainsword and Dakka Dakka threads. Not to mention 1d4chan and some Frontline Gaming competitive blog posts and some Imperator guides. I have a good theoretical grasp of what the weapons are capable of. I just don’t know if they’re worth it.

I guess it would be nice to have an arc rifle in each squad just in case I need to take a potshot at a tank or a Knight. Or a plasma caliver to melt extra marines. But more than one, and I’m really eating into the basic weapons, which are actually really good. Plus, vanguard all have haywire grenades anyway, the magnificent radioactive bastards. And if I leave the special weapons out altogether I can easily port the models over to Heresy games when I need to.

At this stage I’m definitely leaning towards assembling the squads “bare bones” as they say. It’s easy, and clean, and if after a few games it looks like I need the special weapons, I can grab some bodies off eBay maybe. And let’s be honest, the guys I normally play with are all pretty much exclusively Heresy players now. It’s just really hard to shake off my years of experience as an Imperial Guard general. A bunch of rifles with a special weapon or two just feels like the way it’s done, damn it.

In other news, I’ve succesfully stripped the paint off my old 1995 Eversor assassin, and I’m going to update him with a modern 40mm base and a new paintjob: ready for another few years of obliterating enemies of the Imperium/getting shot by a tank as he runs across the battlefield. More on that to come.

Skitarii

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Ranger of Mars!

 

I’ve sold all of my Tau, and it wasn’t easy. Not that letting them go was hard – that bit was easy enough.  No, I mean all the local facebook groups I put them on seem to be much quieter than they were the last time I sold something, a couple of years ago. They were up on three groups for a week without a nibble, and a fourth group never even got around to activating my membership request in all that time.

Then I got impatient and put them on eBay, and they sold within half an hour to a worthy fellow from Queensland.

So I’ve used the money I got from the Tau to order two of the unusually good value (for GW) Start Collecting: Skitarii boxes. One from Emerald Hobbies in Queensland (thanks to Warlock for the recommendation), and one from a guy on eBay in the UK who it turns out was trading as ++REDACTED++ Publishing. I always liked ++REDACTED++’s RPG supplements. Funny to think that they have a sideline selling warhams to people on the secondary market. Every little bit helps I guess.

I’m very excited about the Skitarii. I also ordered some of these heads from Puppetswar in Poland:

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See, I don’t one hundred percent like the hooded heads for the Skitarii rangers. I think they look too monastic. And if you have a vision, there’s no settling for less than one hundred percent right? The drawing up at the top is a sort of concept art pic I drew last night for how I’d like my rangers to look. The ricepicker hat (that sounds racist but I’m not sure why exactly, and I’m pretty sure it’s the common term) with the flappy robes and long rifle will create a very cool cyborg ashigaru look I think. It’s a look I tried to achieve with my Fire Warriors and I never felt that it worked. The vanguard are fine as they are: I like their medieval European style helmets, I think it suits their shock troop style.

I’m planning on gunmetal bodies for the cyborgs, a sort of weathered buff or tan for their coats, and black glossy helmets for the rangers with red cog logos. The onager walker-tanks will have desert yellow plating and again, gunmetal legs and stuff. I’m going to sell the two Adeptus Mechanicus dominusses (domini?) that come in the box to buy some Sicarians because they look awesome. Should be able to get a decent price for new-on-sprue AdMech in my local area, people love ’em.

Oh and game-wise I’m going to run a Skitarii Maniple, so no HQ. I actually think that’s very cool – being controlled from above by a tech-priest. It sounds immersive since I’m controlling them from above in the real world.

I was wrong, 30k is actually good

Hi everybody,

Yeah, OK, so I was wrong. I’ve always been hesitant about getting my teeth into the Horus Heresy as a setting, for a variety of reasons. Mainly I guess I was skeptical that today’s Games Workshop had it in them to make a setting that was different from original 40k, but still compelling.

It turns out that they can, and have, which I suppose shouldn’t surprise me that much. Rogue Trader was a delicious soup of 1970s and 80s science fiction and Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Not exactly ground-breaking on the surface. But the thing I think that suckered me in was the dystopian hopelessness; the human race distilled into a brutal conservative regime, fighting a last stand against the worst parts of itself made real.

So I never really got the Heresy, as a setting. It seemed to me to be bereft of what made 40k interesting: just a bunch of battles in a golden age of demigods flying around with giant hammers and stuff, and if you don’t already know my policy on superheroes, it’s “yeah, nah.” Oh and also ALL SPACE MARINES ASTARTES ALL THE TIME was a bit of a concern, since I’ve never been into them that much. But my local scene really started to get into it, and more and more people I knew and trusted as gamers and hobbyists quietly recommended Forgeworld’s Heresy rules and invited me to events. Eventually I thought why not, I’ll give it a go, and I set about converting 1000 points of my 40k Guardsmen to be 30k-compatible Imperialis Militia. I also read the first three Horus Heresy novels, to get a feel for it all.

And you know what, it’s pretty great. I like the aesthetic, which is subtly different. And the thing that suckers me in (in a narrative sense) this time is that it still has the hopeless feel. Only instead of being mired in the dying days of a dystopia, the setting is the dying days of a utopia that almost was. The Loyalist forces are (officially) atheist rationalists, confronted by your traditional Lovecraftian sanity-destroying beings that disprove everything they believe about the universe. And, interestingly, what we believe too. I think it’s fair to say that we live in largely secular, rationalist cultures in most of the modern West (barring parts of the USA maybe), so it’s easy to identify with the people of the Heresy era. They’re sort of like us. And we know that they’re doomed to become Emperor worshipping medievals, because faith is the only thing that can fight the Warp. Brutal.

The rules are nice too. My friends locally were telling me it was more balanced than 40k, and from the couple of games I’ve played and what I’ve read, that certainly seems to be the case. Ages ago I wrote a post about how balance in wargames is only really possible when the factions are similar. That’s why historical games (and near future true SF games, like Infinity) are much better strategic contests than 40k, where endless bug monsters and undead robots fight human super soldiers protected by the game designer’s plot armour. Well in 30k, everyone is either humans or astartes, and the variety comes with the legion rules or (in the case of my militia) homeworld provenance. There are deamons and psykers I guess, but they seem to play a much smaller role than in 40k. It’s like a low-magic fantasy setting, contrasted with 40k’s high-magic and aliens and stuff. Different legions can be very different, but within reason. You basically know you’re fighting astartes (you have to call them astartes in 30k, it’s the rules) or humans.

I think for that reason the games I played felt much more strategic than 40k, and I really had the sense my guys were winning or losing because of my actions, not because I was out-listed or surprised by some formation combo. Oh and the other thing that is cool is that astartes don’t have And They Shall Know No Fear. 30k militia are less brave than 40k Guard, too. Everyone is braver in the far future because they have learned to be. So that means you can break Space Marines, and sweeping advance them. Damn it felt good to bayonet some marines into running and then cut them all down. My guys never get to do that in 40k!  It’s amazing how these two things (increasing the importance of morale and levelling the factions to be all similar) make for a much more balanced game.

Of course it’s still 40k in terms of basic rules structure. So that’s a point against it. You have huge armies where individual guys have to be upgraded with weapon choices, and games still take forever. But it’s certainly cinematic, and as long as I don’t play too often I think I can stay interested. My militia hail from a desolate hive world, so I took the Feral Warriors and Al-chem Jackers provenances. This makes them hive gangers hopped up on frenzon, so WS4 and stubborn. Plus I purchased some upgrades for extra attacks. My grenadiers were more than capable of scrapping with astartes up close. Which is the way I like it 😀

So… yeah. Just wanted to pop up and say that I’ve been gaming, and that 30k is actually pretty cool if you like GW’s settings but are a bit over the madness that is 40k list-hammering.

Have a good one!

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A state-of-the-art Leman Russ demolisher stands guard as a squad of Uruq Immortals militia head for an objective.

 

Long overdue picture dump

Well hello there miniatures wargaming blogosphere. I’ve not been posting here at all, for months, because I’ve been too busy doing stuff. Like this:

riptide

This is the pirated riptide that rides with my mercenary Tau. Note his replacement foot. I actually lost it while I was putting him together because this kit has a stupid amount of parts. Sometimes… I just wish things came fully assembled.

But not always. This is an old beastlord I had lying around for years, from one of my many aborted attempts to collect a Warhammer Fantasy Battle army. I stuck a giant sword on his back that came from an SD Gundam kit. He is supposedly for Mordheim, but who knows if that will ever eventuate. Either way I like him.

This is my Macharius Omega, my first superheavy. It took ages simply because it’s so big and the tracks! They are sooo boring to paint. With things like this I always put freehand paintings and markings on them because it makes it more interesting to paint. It also looks more like they’re grizzled vets in a warzone. Or at least my Hollywood-inspired idea of grizzled vets in a warzone.

bowie

Here is a painting I did for a local exhibition as a tribute to David Bowie. It was my first exhibited painting and it rained all week beforehand so I couldn’t varnish it (it’s an oil painting and you can’t varnish them in wet weather). No-one bought it so now I can varnish it properly.

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I’ve also been drawing a fair bit, and I did this design of a banshee and put it on one of those vanity sites where you can buy art on shirts and phone cases and stuff. The link is here if you’re interested. I plan to do more of these, and hopefully they’ll get better and better.

I’ve also nearly finished my Irish hearthguard models for SAGA, but they’re not internet worthy just yet.

Thanks for reading, see you in another few months maybe!

Jimmy

 

Ratlings!

An ex-pathfinder and two ratling sharpshooters make up the team.

An ex-pathfinder and two ratling sharpshooters make up the team. The “ratlings” are Hasslefree space dwarves.

Here are my ratlings, mercenaries who work for Trinh Lomax. I love these guys. The tiny squad of three costs a pittance in points and can be a minor annoyance to my opponent, or, deny enemy infiltrators space on the battlefield. Or they can, you know, kill a Lord of Nurgle. Like they did in my last game. Straight through the eyepiece, son.

Is it weird that I think the ratling girl is kind of cute?

Is it weird that I think the ratling girl is kind of cute?

Ordo Xenos Inquisitor + retinue

L to R: crusader, crusader, Inquisitor, gun servitor with multi-melta, death cult assassin, acolyte with plasma gun

L to R: crusader, crusader, Inquisitor, gun servitor with multi-melta, death cult assassin, acolyte with plasma gun

This is Trinh Lomax, the Ordo Xenos Inquisitor who is my warlord in the narrative 40k campaign I’ve been playing in. She has been living among the Tau for the last ten years, posing as a rogue trader.

The model is by Hasslefree, but I rebuilt her weapon to be a combi-melta.

The model is by Hasslefree, but I rebuilt her weapon to be a combi-melta.

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Glad I have a blog

bastable

I go in and out with blogging, and I know it’s probably tiresome to read my agonising. I write too much; I don’t write enough; I don’t have enough pictures; I have too many opinions; I hate the internet; I’m changing my name, etc.

So yeah, sorry about that. My mood fluctuates a lot with the seasons I’ve noticed. Maybe I should see someone about it because I think it’s getting worse…

Anyway, today I just wanted to say that I’m glad I’m a blogger. I’ve lost one of my favourite models – can’t find him anywhere. The Ministorum Priest above.

I’ve had him for… hmmm. Eight or nine years. The way the sculptor captured his confident, tireless pilgrim’s stride is one of my favourite things about him. And my paintjob worked out well too. I just really liked him, even though he’s a simple old-school model. I called him Bastable.

So I’ve been playing in a narrative 40k campaign with my radical Inquisitor’s private army of mercenary guards and Tau. Last week I needed some spiritual support, and Bastable was nowhere to be found. I’ve looked high and low. I had to use a sanctioned psyker model as a stand-in (I have ten of them I never use. Yeah, thanks for that 5th edition).

The ironic thing is that the psyker priest did really well – tying up some plague marines and a sorceror for three turns with his ogryn flock, making save after amazing save with his Rosarius. That witch was blessed by the Emperor!

He’s no Bastable though. This is an opportunity to create my own priest, at least.

And to finally get to my point, I’m glad that I have a photo of him online that I can pull up any time. And not just him, but all of my models I’ve sold over the last few years. The internet is good for something.

Till next time,

James