I've exclusively working on this for close to three weeks now, despite one epic set back I was fantasizing I could get this done by the end of month. Considering the last one took me about 6 weeks start to finish and this one uses one hell of alot more plaster, it was definitely a pipe dream. I told myself as of Feb 1st, I'd crack down on getting everything reading for Adepticon, so this is it for awhile until I finish everything for the my Legends of the High Seas event, and whatever (if anything) I end up doing for the WFB events I am playing in. I'm anxious to get some skirmish play in on this soon, so expect a return to it in March, once I get everything I need done Acon this month.
(Pretty good sense of scale here, this thing seems plenty big for a 2 X 2 board)
As for the Epic set back- I had attempted to layout the entire floor here as one 12'' x 18" piece. I've seen plenty of large layouts..but with my worries about my inconsistent bricks ( the depth). I've been building all my floor upside down, (or face down) so I get a nice flush surface. I met with a variety of problems along the way..main, certain bricks from certain Hirst molds are not exactly "1" inch (or they dont cast that way for me) we are talking anywhere from a 1/32 to 1/64 inconsistency that only really becomes noticeable when you layout a long line of say the "pipe grate pieces" horizontally against says the "welded floor plates" these minor differences really exacerbate themselves over say 18" so I had to start sanding the blocks which is no exact science trust me.
After several days of messing with the completed floor, where I broke it a couple times flipping it over as the solid piece had considerable weight, I settled on assembling it face up on a solid piece on 1/8 MDF. Now I know better than this..but the reality didn't dawn on me until it was too late.
(Walls for all these rooms are yet to be assembled, the two black tiles are addition rooms)
When I put the glue on the board, wet...I should have glued the actual pieces individually and not the board, let the pieces dry one at a time and fitted the next piece. I just spread glue all over the board and dropped the pieces down...well...what happens when you soak a 1/8 piece of absorbent fiber board with watered down wood glue??...IT WARPS!!..like a Son of a Bitch..the thing bowed up, allot. damn thing curved like a mongol composite short bow...even with probably 5 pounds of 1/2 " plaster floor on it the warp was keeping my floor from fitting together nicely as it should..I threw another board on it tapped it tight and put about 20 pounds of weight on it to flatten it out while dried...The end result was "ok" but the bow still existed enough to make the walls not squarely sit on it plus it just wasnt as tight as it should be for all this work on the single piece. I took a deep breath and said #$%&## THIS!. back to the drawing board and choose to write off over 216 floor tiles...at 9 tiles a cast...that was about 24 individual mold casts..I have duplicate molds of the main mold needed and with two other different ones was casting 4 at time but still it took me about 8 hours to remake all the pieces I needed to get back on track. I decided to re base the stuff on 1/8 inch black foam..(much better)make my largest single piece 9 x 6 and fit them together, just like the Dungeon piece.
The end result was much better, and here are the current results..I've still have casting to do as I am short wall pieces so I may actually get the casting done this week so I can return the borrowed molds. Here is the scary thing- I will have gone thru an entire 50 pound box of plaster on this project (sans maybe 1 or 2 lbs left over) I started my first Hirst experiments in 2008 with 3/4 of a box my pal Bill gave me, that lasted me all the way thru the end of the Dungeon construction in 2010. I shot thru this entire box in a month, Plaster Hulk, indeed.
(Access corridor, these bulkhead valves will run the length of this hall)
In other news I got bunch of new Figs from Cobblestone Casting, and Troll Forged for Sci Fi Skirmish, and some new Pirate stuff from Black Cat, I'm still struggling with extra long delivery times from the UK, including missing packages..this Snow Apocalypse isnt helping.
(Once its all built there are still a ton of painting bells and whistles to get this finished.
I figure 40 hours easy to go..how many hours in so far?, Dont ask....I quit keeping track because I didnt want to know.)
Monday, January 31, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Courtesy of Forge Worlds Newsletter.
Welcome to the very first Warhammer Forge Newsletter! We’re excited to announce that three brand-new kits are available to pre-order now in this very plague-ridden first newsletter. We also introduce the model design team and share our plans for Warhammer Forge.
All future Warhammer Forge Newsletters will be sent alongside our Forge World Newsletters so you don’t need to lift a finger to ensure that you stay up-to-date on this fantastic new range!
Warhammer Forge: The Beginning of the Future
Warhammer Forge was first unveiled at Games Day UK back in September 2010, and since then we have been busily adding to the fantastic selection of models that were displayed at the NEC.
We have put together a dedicated Warhammer Forge model design team, who have been hard at work sculpting a range of finely-detailed resin kits to add depth and breadth to the existing Warhammer Fantasy Battle range. These miniatures will be accompanied by a series of lavish expansion books that will explore the darkest corners of the Warhammer World.
The Warhammer Forge team is lead by Mark Bedford, whose Plague Toad Set is the first pre-order in this Newsletter. The other designers in the team are:Steve Whitehead, whose Bile Trolls are the second of this Newsletter’s releases; Edgar Skomoroswki, the latest addition to the Warhammer Forge studio, and whose first projects will be unveiled in forthcoming newsletters, and finally Keith Robertson, who is responsible for the third pre-order kit in this week’s Newsletter: the Plague Ogres.
Mark, Steve, Edgar and Keith are joined by writer Alan Bligh, who is currently finishing the first Warhammer Forge book, Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos, which will complete Rick Priestley’s first draft. This tome will be the first in a series of Warhammer Forge expansions, and as you can see from the fantastic cover art, The Throne of Chaos promises to be a dark and sinister exploration of the bloody path that leads to the Dark Gods’ ultimate reward.
The Warhammer Forge range can be found alongside Forge World’s existing Warhammer Monsters and Terrain here, and you can order side-by-side with our Warhammer 40,000 and Specialist Games resin kits.
Warhammer Forge New Releases Available to Pre-Order Now:
Without further ado, here are the very first Warhammer Forge releases, all of which are available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 31st of January.
Nurgle Plague Toads Set
Plague Toads, also called Rot-Eaters and Sewer-Kin, are mutated, pseudo-amphibian sacs of brackish filth and pus whose wide maws can swallow a man whole. Plague Toads are drawn to places of disease and decay, and in such places those versed in the lore of the Plague Father can summon these daemon-vermin and bind them to their will.
ThePlague Toads Set, sculpted by Mark Bedford, contains three different resin Plague Toads, each of which is hideously detailed.
A unit of Plague Toads may be taken as part of any Daemons of Chaos or Warriors of Chaos army, and you can download these experimental rules from the early draft of Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos to allow you to use these beasts in your games of Warhammer.
Nurgle Bile Trolls Set
Bile Trolls were tainted in ancient days by consuming the rancid corpses of a defeated Nurgle-worshipping horde, and now suffer a twisted, hellish existence; poised in an eternal struggle between the formidable regenerative powers of their unnatural metabolism and the most potent plague-gifts of the Rot-Lord.
The Bile Troll Set, sculpted by Steve Whitehead, contains three unique Bile Trolls. Each of these full resin monsters boasts a nauseating array of Chaotic detail. The heads and left arms of these hulking brutes are fully interchangeable, allowing a range of different poses and combinations.
The Bile Trolls can be used in any Warriors of Chaos army, and as an exclusive advance preview of what is to come in Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos, we’ve managed to acquire these experimental rules, courtesy of Alan Bligh.
Nurgle Plague Ogres Set
Plague Ogres are vile and malformed hulks: their natural resistance to mutation is completely overcome by the pox-ridden favours of their foul patron.
The Plague Ogres Set, sculpted by Keith Robertson, is a full resin kit containing three individual Plague Ogres, armed with a variety of deadly weaponry and riddled with cankerous mutations. The heads and weapons of these Ogres are fully interchangeable across the three different bodies that are supplied.
The Plague Ogres are perfect for use in any Warriors of Chaos army as a unit of Ogres with the Mark of Nurgle, and will also feature in the forthcoming Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos book.
More Warhammer Forge Releases Coming Soon…
Forthcoming Warhammer Forge releases will encompass everything from gargantuan monsters such as Bubelos the Toad Dragon, to devastating war machines including the ‘Marienburg’ Land Ship, as well as a range of unique special characters such as Kyzak the Befouled to infantry upgrade kits, of which the elite Blades of Mannan are but one example. We’ll be bringing you more details of all these fantastic miniatures in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on your inbox for the next Warhammer Forge Newsletter!
Store Link HERE
Pretty cool, however its not lost on me or anyone else that Nurgle is absolutely one of the worst choices for play in 8th edtion...bad timing I'd say. Bring on the Empire!!!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
My latest Hirst Arts Project is a Sci Fi Skirmish board, similar to my Dungeon board its 2' x 2". Unlike the Dungeon Board however, I'm trying to make it modular so you can make several different designs out out it. In its entirety its two sections, A large warehouse/ cargo bay that's 12" x 18", with a second story, control room (pictured) then the second section which is all hallways and smallers rooms that fit around the larger section. The control room above the cargo bay was my test piece, having never worked with Sci Fi molds before, they are not as forgiving as the fieldstone molds I used for the Dungeon. I figured out how "not" to put it together with this piece and also figured out the paint scheme..I want the whole thing themed as rusted warehouse, perhaps built from a crash spaceship or from parts in an old planet side shipyard. Rusty, dirty, deadly, think..the "Saw" movies for its eventual look.
Here's a good sense of scale for the Warehouse, there is a large overhead door on the camera side of this picture. Its big enough that you can pull a rhino sized APC or small Shuttle type vehicle in through it.. You can see how the control room sits on top with some stairs going up. Nothing is glued up yet other than control and the wall sections that are either 4 inch sections, 6 inch sections or doorways.
Control room came out pretty decent, not happy with the unevenness of some of the blocks along bottom. but given the look I am going for it works. While my casting has gotten leaps better, keeping things straight and tight. remains the biggest challenge It been over 6 months since I built any Hirst., need to get this first piece done so I could visualize the rest of the project.
Looks pretty good from here, I need a good gap filler for these type of blocks my ceramic stucco doesn't work unless I'm going for certain look. I used it in a few area where I was applying rust its a little messy but again fits the overall look. I used quite a bit of rust here, it just felt right. We'll see when I get the whole area complete.
I started out trying to do something in 15mm with these molds, but its just didn't look right so considering I've got tons of generic 28mm sci fi figs and my home brew Sci Fi skirmish rules work for both 15 and 28 mm. .I just went ahead with the 28mm Skirmish build.
I hoping to get the whole thing planned out and cast the next couple weeks. Once Feburary hits, I need to crack down for Adepticon. I might finish the Warehouse section in the next few weeks or just layout the whole thing, not sure yet., Main thing is to get all the casting done outside the odd piece..while I am on a roll.
One of the pitfalls of late nights is you often make mistakes you don't see until your photographing- In this case that 4 inch wall section on the corner has a outside block flipped, and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it now..either make another, or just hide somewhere in build where its not so noticeable. The is alot of plaster going into this build, due to wall height. I'll go over casting totals at a later date. More to follow on this for sure, I wanted to get some starting shots posted. No idea on a time line on this one, but consider it my spring project.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Several notable shakeups this week in the world of wargaming. In the "here we go again" category-While the news is over a week old at this point Games Workshop reported it had a 4th quarter loss for 2010 with its Stock losing all third quarter gains. GW continues to struggle in the major areas of customer support and retention, as well as public relations, Its not worth rehashing the usual gripes here, but the bottom line there is alot more quality competition for miniature wargamers dollars these days, and Games Workshop products are just grossly overpriced. Adding to the usual bad press GW always seems to like to create for itself right around Adepticon, (the biggest wargaming convention in the US. founded on Games Workshop product.) It is currently suing Chapterhouse Studios. A Texas based manufacturer of unofficial resin parts for Games Workshop products. While I'm not privy to the exact details its clear Chapterhouse, isn't too concerned about the Intellectual property thing, as they sell parts for every popular Space Marine chapter you can think of and clearly call them so, with official looking company banners clearly marking the link to each Chapters store page. The comical thing is they have huge disclaimer on the front page declaring they are in no way affiliated with GW, yet GW's IP is pasted all all over the very page of the disclaimer. It looks like these guys were purposely trolling for the shit end of bad lawsuit but we will see, I'm not an IP attorney so maybe I cant see the obvious. Just to throw some gas on that fire, it also appears GW has dragged another, and apparently innocent company ( from the Chicagoland area ) into this mess by claiming he was an affiliate of Chapterhouse studios. He's also a resin parts manufacture, but with no IP violations I can see on his site. The reason for the tag team seems to be so GW legal could try to get an Illinois venue for this case and also drag Adepticon's name into the mess by showing the physical market for these products and thereby show the clear financial loss. The whole thing looks like another PR mess for GW and it will surely reach its boiling point just in time for Adepticon. You think the folks at GW would have waited until late April and just gone after Chapterhouse on the obvious merits., I just hope the apparently innocent guy here gets a chance to clear his name.
On the "from out of nowhere" front, I read on TGN today that Wargames Factory is suddenly under "new management". If you have been a fan of Wargames Factory since the get go, like I have -you know that Tony Reidy is its heart and soul. While I personally fell out of love with most of the product line, I think it has an essential place in the market and Tony's passion for the hobby is inspiring. It seems here (speculation based, what I've read and my own insight)that the Chinese Manufacturer of Wargames Factory product, used debt owed to get a "piece of the action" and leveraged that piece, with what I can only assume is more debt then colluded with Wargames Factory's wholesale distributor, to take over the company and force Tony out. Again, that's my own speculation based on what I've read, but its not like that type of thing is anything new in the business world, whether it be Toy Soldiers, Toasters or Toilet Paper. Tony's a casual acquaintance of mine, we spoken maybe a half dozen times and we're friends on facebook...and it seems he's in lockdown mode right now and not talking period, perhaps- not by choice. What is crystal clear is that Wargames Factory is FUBAR right now with people who bought product as far back as Thanksgiving, not getting their orders and not even getting a basic response to the obvious email of "where's my stuff". Another big mess, no idea how this ones going down, its only been brewing a few days but expect a press release soon and a Wargames Factory without Tony Reidy to be a totally different company.
(Edit 1/15 Tony posted this on the Miniatures Page, just today...wow.)
Last and definitely least, for me in the "last nail in the coffin" category, is that Wizards of the Coast, (aka Hasbro) recently announced it was axing its line of plastic crack called D&D miniatures. rubbery horribly cast plastic blobs with lousy chinese factory paint jobs, they released 20 sets of these each seemingly dumber and uglier than the next. You think they been designed to be play aids for the RPG however they made them collectible (which was all the rage in early 2000's) all of which did was create an insane secondary market that froze out the people looking for role playing pieces. I was big fan of WotC's pewter Chainmail line of the early 2000's and collected a handful of choice pieces. while I hadn't played any D&D with a real human outside of a computer since I was 14 and it was its 1st Edition. I had intial attraction to the D&D miniatures game, because of Chainmail, and because I always viewed D&D as war game even way back as a lad rather than the homeless shelter for devil worshiping cast extras that the game actually became stereotyped for. Regardless it wasnt long before I realized the game and these figures were utter shite, the few of them I still possess are the toys I give my 2 year old and 4 year old to play with when they are hanging around the basement so they dont break my actual miniatures. Good riddance to the whole line, I hope Reaper is popping the champagne.
(disclaimer- there are purposely no links here, all this info is readily available and I don't want to be responsible for driving traffic to the various offenders mentioned, links to the larger entities are on my sidebars. If you have a question about my sources here go ahead and ask.)
ok, back to hobbying....
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I was first approached by Tim over at Cursed Treasures about running a Legends of the High Seas event at Adepticon in 2009, Tim's the author of the Legends book, and he and I had first met at Adepticon in 2008 when he was demoing his own game in the specialist game hall. I love his game and have played quite a bit of it myself since it was released including hosting my own event in 2009 which, despite the bumps in the road was great time and overall success. My writing and blog coverage of said event, prompted Tim to ask me about running Legends at Adepticon in 2010. As I am sure all my fellow citizens recall 2009 was brutal year economically here in the US. Personal strain on my own business and family and uncertain economic times kept me from making the commitment in 2010, in fact thou I had registered and paid, I was even sure I'd actually make to Adepticon in 2010, until probably late Feb. Regardless in spring2010 the ship slowly began to turn upright for me and get things back on track financially.. With my house in order I started to think seriously about what High Seas event would entail and how to pull off. If you'rer familiar with the two Legends book, both High Seas and Old West. While the game system at its core has a great mechanic, what really makes these books shine is the rules meeting the campaign system. The question in running an event is how to incorporate what really makes the game great in a 4 or 5 hour event.
My own event was run in May of 2009 was an actual campaign style event with full access to all rules and crew improvements and add on's between rounds. This event ran roughly 10 hours, and we ended up rushing in the last turn or so because ti was getting so late. The result here was learning what worked and what didn't, this was clearly not the way an Adepticon event could run, and it was just way to much of time sink and specialist events like High Seas, at Adepticon run on a 1/2 day schedule. Knowing what would not work is one thing, but figuring what would work is another can of worms. It required significant thought and some play testing to pick the proper scenarios and weave those into a modified quickly campaign system..that can mimic the idea of the book, in a 4 game, 5 hour setting while keeping true to the spirit of the book. The result are the event rules posted here.
Adepticon is such a spectacle when it comes to eye candy for the hobby. You must accept when running an event that bar is very high when it comes to presentation. Thankfully I knew meeting that challenge would not be difficult considering the people I have helping me, Rich at Chicago Terrain Factory's awesome Pirate Castle is the center piece of the event. Inspired by him I have created the Pirate dungeon. Include those with the other terrain I have from the Pirate event I already ran, (Including my friend Jason's Tavern Fight board), and we are well past the threshold needed for 5 tables and a 10 man event. Just when I thought we were all set, Tim decided to up the ante by letting me know our 2010 Adepticon casual discussion of doing the Boarding Action scenario had become a reality.Tim is currently working the Wicked Wench, which is 50 gun monster from Old Glory, a scale representation of one the largest ships that sailed the Spanish Main in the early 1700's, My part in "Boarding Action" is to get my ship prepared. My ship, a converted remote control toy, is a Galleon modeled with only 10 guns. However its physical size and available room dictate- its 20-24 gun vessel. A much smaller ship than, the Wicked Wench, -"The Soltera" (as I call her) is a good compliment to the realities of the scenario, in that pirates where constantly trying to "trade up" to bigger and more powerful vessels. The crew of the Soltera trying to seize the Wench as their new flagship from fellow pirates is A "boarding action" in the making for sure. More on my work on "The Soltera" and modding it specifically for the scenario in a separate post.
While the players are bringing their own crews, I'll have a couple crews worth of models on hand for crew shortages, and additional hired hands as the need arises, but I am personally really looking forward to what people bring out to the event. I do plan on painting up some addition models to fill any gaps that my arise in the event.The final component is the logistics of the event itself this includes the statistic keeping, pairings, scenario sheets and event descriptions. and result sheet. Having done all the worksheets for my previous campaign, I already have the templates created and its just matter of exchanging the text. Pairings were a more difficult challenge as its not just a win/lose type event but based on how much "infamy" your crew can earn through scenario objectives and rewards. After some discussion I ended up settling on a round robin style event, with predetermined slots as that seemed to be the best solution. In the end, I think its as prepared as it can be. I would love to have a done primer for the event however. That just isn't a reality. Scenario play testing was solid and there is time for more of that and I am still developing all the bells and whistles for the final scenarios.
The professionalism of the Adepticon team is just superb and its great to know there is such a solid back bone behind you when you step up to do something like this. From the venue, to the advertising, to the prizes and awards. I'm sure more details are to come, but It's looking like smooth sailing at this point. Keep in mind, even the smallest event like mine, is as its base, a team event. I couldn't pull it off without the help of everyone involved. That's what a convention like Adepticon does best, It's a celebration of everyone's love of the hobby. This will be my 5th Adepticon and I couldn't be more stoked.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
British and German Soldiers Christmas Day 1914
It's an uneasy truce I have with WFB's 8th edition. As I've mention in previous post I am somewhat soured on the game for a variety of reasons. Mainly the inability of the tournament scene to catch up to changes in the rules. I don't have huge problem with majority of the new rules, they're if anything, consistent. A quick overview of my personal troops doesn't bode particulary well in 8th. My planned Lizardmen build got squashed by army percentages, ok, move on I can still make them work but there is really only varieties of one build that seems to work. I don't have the models to make my Daemons work in the new environment, investing in a ton of metal Plaguebearers a couple months before 8th release, was in retrospect- idiocy and I am not particulary interested in investing a ton more time and money into them. With my beloved Empire, I "hate" having to take the Steam tank every freaking game to be competitive in a tournament..but it is what it is, I dont find 4 Mortars and a Master Engineer or 30 spelled up Greatswords or Flagellants anymore appealing and the fact that the detachment system and my favorite Huntsmen are practically useless is a drag. While I have no love for the huge combat res's of the new game its something I can live with while and tactically plan for.
At certain point you just need to decide that you like the game or you don't. Despite my current cynicism and as much as 7th edition had its issues it was very addicting to me, and the drive to make things work in 8th for me is there. I find my Empire Army quite playable in 8th edition as long as I stick to the things "that work" however constantly having to tie up 600 points with a Steam Tank and a Wizard Lord with the Lore of Life, gets old fast. In a casual game, its easy to mitigate the games shortcoming and throw a list together that "kind of works" when you know who your opponent is, its when it comes to an "all comers" list in a tournament environment that is when things go off the rails. " Composition" as we knew it in 8th ed, is gone, the immediate reaction to the initial overview of 8th ed rules was that 8th ed "comps itself"While that might be true in some instances it is clear wide spread army imbalances remain with books in use over now 3 editions and nothing exacerbates army imbalances more that Warhammer 8th Editions poisonous new scoring rules.
I'm not quite sure why tournaments haven't caught on that playing to victory points is a suckers game, no points for fleeing units and having to totally destroy entire units to get full points for them , I am finding frankly- unacceptable. Several friends of mine would argue that figuring out how to completely destroy entire units is chapter1 of the new WFB tactica. I flatly reject that. For me a "wargame" should simulate a tactical battle, tactical battles are about objectives, goals, and even if the tactical goal is slaughter your opponent to the man, leaving one single soldier of unit of 30,50, even 100..or having soldiers literally fleeing the battlefield earning points toward victory is gaming gone awry.
This type of scoring in a tournament, which by my standards is a celebration of the hobby and supposed to a fun day out where the like minded can match wits on as level a playing field as possible, is counter intuitive toward total absurdity, While not everyone plays to win, everyone still likes to win from time to time. There is no glory is winning a game, where you win because your opponent rolled a "1" on his last shooting attack on your lone model of 30 remaining or because he some how couldn't kill your half dozen fleeing units.
The answer is obvious, remove victory points from the equation, the designers imply this in design, but then go ahead and make 4 of the 6 scenarios determined by VP in the new rulebook, so its not hard to see how TO's have followed suit. Despite play results to the contrary. I'd hope that if you played this game for any length of time or like me last night have tried to take you S3, T3, I3 army out against a S4, T4, I4,or 5! army...you know the feeling that in a VP game without some gimmick or fluke of luck how every game becomes "The charge of the Light Brigade", over and over and over.
Personally I'd like to see an Army Break point system similar to Warhammer Ancient Battles new rules. This would be a wondrous thing for WFB 8th, for those unfamiliar with it. basically each unit you field is worth 1 or 2 points...characters are worth an extra point and units over 300 points are +1 points, whatever the total once you reach 25% of your total -your army is broken and the game is over. (varying conditions can of course apply) While army imbalances remain an elite army will something to think about when it breaks after losing just a few units where the horde can lose many more and not worry about breaking. Having to capturing 2 of three objectives in 6 turns, while worrying about your break point creates a far more interesting game from where I am sitting. It's also clear to me that WFB 8th operates much better on a tournament perspective at 2000 points than any greater. Games of 3000+ points only purpose seem to be for big dumb fun because you're literally taking models off the table as quickly as you've put them on.
In the end its about balance, to keep its relativity the Warhammer Tournament scene, now in the hands of independent operators needs to keep people wanting more The game needs an edge, Big and Dumb is fun...but its easy to get your fill. Appeasing new players and vets- I know isn't easy and in the end its the pageantry of Warhammer that is its initial attraction. The problem is as I play more and more games with far better rules its getting easier to overlook the big shiny elephant in the room, that's currently a 528 page rulebook. Stay tuned, it will be interesting how this spring develops.