Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Showcase - Warlord Games Early Imperial Roman Legionaries, Applying Transfers

It's 'The Last Post', not to be confused with that rather haunting bugle call, before we go off to the hospital to welcome our first so I thought it best to make it something worth reading.

In my last Plog I promised I'd take some photos of my painted Roman Legionaries and I guess this is also an 'army' shot, though it's a very compact one at the minute:

I think there's a nice contrast between the red of the legions and the green of the auxiliaries, another plus is that they'd make perfect Christmas decorations

Still not based them though, I'm still thinking exactly how I want to do it and I've got plenty to paint whilst I make up my mind anyway

There's a lot of 'silver' metal on these guys so I might sure to paint the cornu and standard using some bright golds. I've come to the conclusion over a number of years that when painting models it's best to exaggerate colours a tad so that they really pop on the table top.

I went with red skirts, there's nothing quite like the 'classical' look - this is what I grew up with in school

Speaking of Romans, there have been quite a number of questions and comments on some of the facebook groups I'm part of regarding transfers, particularly the Warlord Games transfers for the legionaries, well, this is my response:

My goal, whilst I'm off from work is to complete my first French line, with any luck and a few quiet hours that'll be my next post...see you in a few weeks!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

French Napoleonic Line Infantry - 4 down, heaven knows how many to go!

I recently did an unboxing for the Warlord Games French Line Infantry Boxed Set which is suitable for battles in the Peninsular War (Warlord Games sells a different French line infantry box for waterloo) and during that I was able to show my first line infantry-man however the light was getting low and I wanted to take a few more photos for the blog.

Well now I've finished 4, the first sixth of my first French line - These guys will probably represent the 70th Line infantry 1st Battalion, I'm working towards an army loosely representative of the orbat for Vimeiro so I thought I'd start from the top and recreate General de Brigade Antoine François Brenier de Montmorand's (what a name!) Brigade which was 70th Line (both first and second battalions) and the 2nd and 4th light.

I also placed my first order with Perry Miniatures this week I sorely needed some models suitable for generals and though Warlord Games would have me use at least two groups of brigade commanders they don't actually have much in the way of models suitable for this! Fortunately the Perry Brothers have got this covered and I was able to pick up Napoleon and staff pt1, and Staff and Generals dismounted which gives me 11 miniatures, plus a table and Napoleon himself of course, to make some nice little vignettes for my brigade commanders. I also got a cannon whilst I was at it because who doesn't want a cannon!

If you missed it last week here's the youtube video for the French Line unboxing:

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Whoooosh! The Sound of Another Month Passing.

It's getting to be a familiar sound! I've not had much opportunity to sit and write for a little while much less sit and think, all good practice for later this month or so I am told.

Wow, the single post I did get out last month certainly got a response though, I shall have to tackle more controversial topics more often but before I right all the worlds wrongs I thought I'd have a little ramble here first.

Firstly, despite last months brief moment of insanity I probably wont be starting AoS any time soon (if ever). I had hoped, perhaps foolishly, that it would be something I could afford, I spent a not insignificant time perusing the lizardmen range in preparation. Then Games Workshop released the first unit boxes and I realised that It's just not something I can afford to buy in to (again).

So I'll be sticking with the myriad of systems I'm already invested in and maybe, one day, when I'm a rich and successful accountant...maybe...

Instead you'll have to make do with this fortnights (months?!) Plog:

And a couple of unboxing vids:

Warlord Games French Line Infantry

Perry Miniatures French Dragoons

In the Plog you'll see my first finished (bar basing) roman legionary unit and my first painted French man, I hope to feature these in a bit better lighting here in the coming weeks.

Until then, as usual, thanks for taking the time to stop by and read the ramblings of this hobbyist!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Warhammer Fantasy: A Fate As Old As Time

Well that's unexpected...Well actually it's not unexpected, the rumours regarding Warhammer: Fantasy have been doing the rounds for quite some time and as it turns out quite a number of those rumours appear to have been correct, at least in the short term anyway:

  • Round bases, in fact any bases you like, are in.
  • Ranks and files are out, if you want them to be.
  • Points are out.
  • force organisation as we know it is out.
  • Free rules, at least for the time being, are in.
And a whole lot more besides and do you know what, as someone that's dabbled, expensively (no, I don't mean extensively) with WH:F over the last 13+ years I can safely say that Warhammer is actually something that's piquing my interest again.

When I was 19/20 I spent a small period of time as a full-timer at my local GW and in amongst the maelstrom I learnt a few things about the products I was selling:

  • 40k was number one seller, by a country mile.
  • Lord of the Rings was number two
  • Fantasy was languishing in third 
  • and finally came the myriad of specialist games ranges
Yes, they weren't far from deaths door but specialist games were still a thing. It bears remembering that this was not too long after the release of The Return of the King and shortly before the release of WotR. Lord of the Rings, whatever it's perceived faults by 40k fans, was still riding a high and it had made GW an awful lot of money. From the horses mouths at the time (though you probably wont have seen this in any financial statement) 'the popularity of SBG completely masked a slight overall decline in GWs core customer market. We were making an awful lot of money, we didn't quite understand why and we made a few mistakes as a result [...] like putting an additional member of staff in to every shop.'

And then the bubble burst. Boy did it burst. It led to the large amount of restructuring including the rise (or return) of the one man store and I'd say is the probable root cause of the current price inflation strategy which has seen single blister heroes rise from £4-8 to anything up to £30 over the last 6 years.

In that time WH:F undoubtedly returned to spot number two but in my opinion the rot had already set in and as far as I was concerned the writing was on the wall, at least as far as my local was concerned. LotR was dead and Fantasy was not all that far behind. Though anecdotal and not at all necessarily representative of every store, in my part of the UK at least, 40k was outstripping fantasy sales considerably (my estimate would be £10:1 if not more).

And If you want my opinion, and presumably if you've made it this far then you are at least a little interested, it was by and large down to price. 7th Edition compounded it and 8th literally threw all sense of reason out of the window.

I had my introduction to WH:F when I was half the height and half the age I am now. Back then it was feasible for someone of my age to buy a box of 16-20 models with my £15 pocket money a month, each box would be a whole unit, and within 6-10 months I'd have a decent sized 1-1.5k point army of say 7 regiments and a few bits of fun thrown in and the total cost? Around £150. If I was lucky I could cover a 3rd or even half of that cost with Birthday or Christmas money.

Fast forward 13 years and five things have happened:
  • price per box went up
  • models per box went down
  • expected models per regiment went up
  • average game size increased
  • average points cost per model decreased
Most regiment boxes now cost upwards of £18-20, Most regiment boxes now contain 10 men or less and most regiments are no longer seen in blocks of 16-20, often 20 is the minimum. It is absolutely impossible now for a child to buy an effective regiment each month with their pocket money and have a 2000 point army within 6-10 months without parents with very, very, deep pockets.

oh and the rulebook/armybook is(/now 'was' I guess...) no longer an inconvenience that would cost you two months of pocket money, now they'll run you double if not triple.

Those children, who can no longer afford to buy in to the game, are Games Workshop's core market (especially since they've done everything they could, it seems, to alienate the older, and therefore more miserable among us (myself included)). As someone who's studying accountancy If I were working for a company whose core market could not afford the products my company were selling I'd be doing two things:

  • Looking for a new job for when they folded
  • Advising them that if they didn't do something to make their products 'cheaper' they wouldn't be in a position to make those products for much longer.
I use the word 'cheaper' in inverted commas because actually the models aren't too expensive, £20-£25 a box is pocket money price by today's standard, certainly for a box a month (which was my original example). So if they're not too expensive how do you create the perception that they're cheaper?

I, or rather Games Workshop, give you:

Free basic rules (for now at least) no points (play what you have - great for kids) and once again a box can be an effective regiment

I haven't played fantasy since the earliest days of the Island of Blood and I haven't owned a fantasy army since I sold my Skaven to buy a car (literally, my Fantasy army cost enough to buy a car) but I've been looking with soft, doe eyes at lizardmen recently and new rules, or more precisely this new take on the game itself, has got me very interested.

I think the fact that It's going to scale seamlessly from a hero and a handful of regiment boxes (£50?) to anything you like is absolutely crucial for Games Workshop as children (and importantly parents) with any interest in anything other than instant gratification are rapidly decreasing. The fact you can play a game, a proper game, from the starter set is MASSIVE and it's been missing from GW's repertoire since the likes of Mordheim, Necromunda, Gorka Morka and the Lord of the Rings SBG et al got brushed under the rug of history.

I know GW is receiving a lot of flak on the WWW for this decision and I can see there being a number of disaffected people due to the, frankly, drastic direction shift but when I look at the majority of the people complaining and stating that they'll vote with their wallet, well they were the ones saying the same about 8th edition, and probably 7th and maybe even 6th edition. Presumably if they've been voting with their wallet for all this time then I don't think Games Workshop's going to miss them that much.

I can't say I'll be playing or buying any any time soon, I think bar Lord of the Rings (and I'm running out of stuff I want/need for that) GW's ship has sailed for me, I've long since been disaffected primarily by their 'price' and you know what, that's fine by me, it's a business, not a charity, and they're entitled to 'price' how they like, they're the ones that have to live with the consequences of ever diminishing returns, not me.

Like my Dad who took his son to Games Workshop at the age of 8 to buy a monster compendium for D&D and was probably disappointed to find they no longer catered for him I imagine my experience will be the same when I introduce my son to GW. Games Workshop has changed a lot from the days of my miss-spent youth. I'm more interested in historicals where Warlord and Perry miniatures in particular can provide a box, literally bulging, with miniatures for £20. Still I hope that they do well out of this change of direction because I would like to take my son to a Games Workshop one day in 8 or so years time. It was, sad as it sounds, an integral part of my childhood.

If you've made it this far what your thoughts on the passing of GW's iconic game?

The King is dead. Long live The King.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Unboxing - Games Workshop Great Eagles, Preparing to be a Dad(dy).

This last couple of weeks really seems to have flown by and time seems to be rapidly vanishing as I near the approaching B-Day (Baby). 

As time rapidly runs out on my old life of no responsibility (relatively) and care-free-ness I find myself thinking of a future where instead of spending an hour painting models in the evening I'll be spending an hour (or more) sending a baby off to sleep. worse still is that this is not a short term commitment either! Once that stage is over it'll be parents evens, friends birthdays, trips to the park, colouring in, cleaning up and generally doing everything other then the few things I want to do.

Do I feel daunted? YES
Do I feel like I'm jumping in at the deep end when I can't swim and there are no lifeguards on duty? Abso-blooming-lutely
Are there going to be days when I'll wish I'd had a headache that night? Undoubtedly.

But that said here are some of the things I am looking forward to sharing with my soon-to-be little one (when the time is appropriate) aside from the all to obvious addiction I have to little plastic men of course:

This, as my reception/year 1 teachers would be able to tell you, was my favourite (bar none) toy to play with at school, I never cooperated amenably when it cam time to be put away and I was more than a little possessive of it; I absolutely HATED it when someone else wanted to play with it to. Let's hope I have better luck with my off-spring...

Walking in the woods, especially in the rain, finding trees to climb, places to build dens and rivers in which you can make dams was probably my favourite outdoor activity as a child. By and large society frowns on fully grown adults doing many things such as climbing trees and building dams so I can't wait till I have an excuse to enjoy those past times again.

My Grandparents bought my one for christmas and, for a child that grew up without a lot of access to the more expensive toys in the Argos catalogue, it was a revelation. I think I spent all my pocket money (£2 a month at the time) on batteries for the thing and I have fond memories of spending more time messing with the metal contacts on the bottom of the cars than I do of actually getting them to race. Hopefully they're a bit more reliable now (I doubt it...)

Lego! Yes another toy but what could not be made from Lego with a box full of blocks and some imagination? Dinosaurs, 18th century sailing ships, power rangers zords, aeroplanes, space ships, castles, crossbows and hilariously feeble swords were a staple.  

Well who needs an excuse to go to this place? Probably my second visited museum after the natural history museum (of course). As someone who studied not only classical and medieval history but also modern I can safely say that war has and will always be (because of our innate inability to simply get along) one of the defining characters of our being, I'm a great believer in the phrase that 'what we forget we are doomed to repeat'. Despite the last remaining living memories of the most recent 'global' war rapidly leaving us for what ever come next I want my son to have a respect for the great and tumultuous period which is so close to our living memory. I don't know if a civilian population in Britain will ever experience the same level of war as those in 1939-45 and I hope they don't but I know that when the memory of that time slips from us, that is when it's events are most likely to re-occur.

So as I begin to mourn the loss of free time and freedom of choice (I've still got 6 weeks, that's at least a couple of regiments isn't it?!) What tips do the initiated among us have for the novice? Are there things you thought you'd miss but don't? are there things that you didn't realise you'd miss?

Most importantly how do I go about fitting in hobby time?

And because that was the title after all:


No Plog this week but I've been working on the Legionaries, 10 down and 10 on their way, and I have far too many Warlord Games models on their way to me, as if I didn't have enough already, but hey, I'll need a good stockpile for when my own personal expendable income passes like rain on the mountain. More on those next week

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Ten Minute Tutorial - Painting Cloaks

Hi all, here is the second of my 'Ten Minute Tutorials', It's a quick guide on how to paint blue high elf cloaks though you could substitute the colours of course.

In other news Black powder 'happened' so be on the look our for reviews and unboxings soon. The rulebook is superb and I like the more 'broad brush' approach I could see it giving to games, The handful of models I've bought look great though I have one slight gripe with a particular set (to be revealed in review) and the free Napoleon they're giving away this month for the 200th anniversary of Waterloo was a nice little addition.

Work continues on the Roman cohort, I'm nearing completion of the first 10 and so I've begun to assemble the remaining 10 (including command) to complete the unit. All the models have gone together nicely and you can see a review of the set here on this very blog.

In other, other news the countdown to baby continues: 59 days to go. eek!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Plog #2, Ten Minute Tutorials, Musings on Black Powder

It's been a very busy two weeks which hasn't exactly left a lot of time for painting but I have got a few bits and pieces to show you in my 2nd video painting log.

One of those things that I've managed to find some time for the the first of my Ten Minute Tutorials. Rather than paint a whole miniature I'll show how I paint a specific colour. In this case it's the gold used on me elves which featured a few posts ago.
The second is also complete and ready to release next week!

One of the questions I ask on my 'plog' is regarding black powder from Warlord games.
As should be fairly obvious I've become quite invested in their hail Caesar range and, wanting a more unified ruleset (because remembering how to play umpteen different games is a pain!), I've been considering whether or not to get the black powder rules or not.

I've currently got a few regiments of 15mm AB peninsular British Line infantry and 6lb cannons based for the General de Brigade rules however if I were to do black powder I'd probably want to drop the AB for Warlord plastics (price being a major reason).

Do any of you have any thoughts on the Black Powder rules and the Warlord Games ecosystem in general and what about the models? Stick with 15mm or switch to 28mm?