Project Roundup – Dark Imperium Death Guard

I’ve been painting a lot of Nurgle stuff lately; all the Chaos stuff from the Dark Imperium box in fact.  I’ve almost run out of them now and am down to the three Death guard from the Plague Brethren box that was released over the weekend.  This is the first time I’ve ever painted Nurgle stuff, and it turns out that I enjoyed painting them more than I thought I would; perhaps even enough to paint an army of them for myself and not just for work.

For a Warhammer 40,000 starter set the detail on the models is amazing.  I’ve painted stuff from all but one of the 40K starter sets, the one with the crashed Aquila Lander being the only one that I missed out on, and I can say with absolute certainty that these kits are head and shoulders above the rest.

There’s been a noticeable improvement in the quality of their plastics with each passing edition.  When the Space Marines and Orks from the second edition starter set are compared with Space Marines and Death Guard in this one, it’s like the difference between night and day.  Don’t get me wrong, in their day the plastics from second edition were the bees knees, but they haven’t aged well.

Several times with the Dark Imperium Nurgle stuff I had to go back and paint in a detail that I’d missed.  Sometimes it could just be a maggot, whereas other times I missed whole pipes and the buggers would be sat there in just their undercoat, mocking me (I’m looking at you Blight-Drone).  However, if the only thing I can grumble about is too much detail, then I think I’m onto a winner.

Looking back on this entry to my ongoing hobby ramblings, I suppose I can say that of late I’ve been enjoying my job, and I know I’m lucky to be in a position to be able to say that.

 

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Classic, or Current?

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Games Workshop are producing some fantastic models, that’s something that surely isn’t in any doubt.  They’re technically close to perfect, due to the sculpting being done on computers.  I wonder if that perfection might have come at the expense of character though. *

I painted a Space Marine Chaplain the other day, that surly looking chap at the top of the page in fact and it’s a sculpt that comes nowhere near the technical perfection of modern GW.  The skulls are basic, the pose is that static stance that anyone who’s been into the hobby for a while will recognise and there are a couple of detail voids in the hard to reach crevices.  Despite all that though, the imperfect little bugger has personality.

There are a few reasons for this I think and the biggest one is the difference between sculpting by hand and sculpting in a computer.  When sculpting by hand all the imperfections come through; the little mistakes and idiosyncrasies of the sculptor.  If you’re familiar with the work of a person, it’s often possible to identify their work without being told that it belongs to said individual.  Whereas that all seems to be erased from the process when using a computer.  Any mistakes are easily corrected and the personality of an individual sculptor just doesn’t shine through in the same way.

I’m not saying that Games Workshop should ditch their computers and go back to sculpting by hand.  The current method allows them to turn out the best plastic kits they’ve ever done, at a rate that couldn’t be matched using traditional methods.  Entire editions of a game could come and go without entries in an army list getting models to represent them.  As far as I know that just doesn’t happen now.

On balance, I think the hobbyist gains more than they lose with modern sculpting techniques, but those old metals were something special.  Never-mind, I can continue to satisfy my craving for classic lead, from Ebay, while going to Games Workshop for my top-notch plastics.  I get to have my cake and eat it and I’m a guy who likes cake.

 

*I’m not going to pretend I have anything but the most basic layman’s knowledge of modern sculpting techniques, but I have opinions and I’m not afraid to use them.

September 2017 White Dwarf Review

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The September, Warhammer 40,000 thirtieth anniversary issue of White Dwarf is a corker. *  Given the copious notes I took while reading it, it’s probably going to be a big ‘un too.

The issue looks like something a bit special straight away, as it comes in a protective cardboard slipcover, that has the highlights of the magazine emblazoned upon it.  I’m not going to lie, it felt a little bit like opening a pressie and I only went back to take a good look at the slipcover after I’d already opened it to get at the contents.

It has an awesome cover by Igor Sid which is a reimagining of the cover art on the Rogue Trader and he’s done a really good job on it.  I still prefer the original, but that’s just because it was emblazoned on the cover of the book that got me into 40K and I suspect there is a healthy dose of nostalgia involved.

There are two free gifts, which is cool.  Okay, one of them is a promo poster for Warhammer Total War and as such it’s essentially an advert, but that’s not the point; it’s a decent double-sided poster.  The other is a massive poster reproducing the cover art in full and it’s glorious.  It’s a shame about the fold lines, but that’s unavoidable with magazine posters.  I’m going to be getting a frame, so I can hang it on my Living Room wall, that’s how impressed I am with it.

The team page is usually standard stuff, but this Month they’re all talking about what got them into 40K and it made me realise how young most of them are, with one or two exceptions.  I started out with Space Crusade and moved up to the Rogue Trader.

The Editorial is very much a 40K is awesome sort of affair, which is fine.  This one probably couldn’t be anything else.

I’ll concede that the contents pages are nice and eye-catching this Month, despite my regular grumbles about them. **

Planet Warhammer starts with a two-page mini feature on all the editions of Warhammer 40,000, complete with little slivers of art from the cover of each edition.  It’s a nice little mini feature.

They’ve popped the anniversary Primaris Sergeant in the corner of this feature and I’m really in two minds about this guy.  He’s either understated and cool, or basic and boring.  Will I buy him?  Probably, so I suppose GW have done their job.

As for the rest of Planet Warhammer, there’s a load of new 40K releases, including Mortarion, a bunch of Primaris guys, a couple of Codexes and the Blightwar box for AoS, which I believe is a new starter set, with a bunch of spiffy models in it.

Special mention in the new releases however, needs to go to the big box of skulls.  Games Workshop are finally acknowledging their love of naked noggins.  Also, whoever came up with the cringeworthy Khornetainer pun deserves a prize of some sort.

This Month even has a release for the game that refuses to die, no matter how much GW seem to want it to, The Hobbit.  They even have a couple of scenarios later in the issue, which is probably cool for fans.

There’s the book and Video Game news.  I’ve become a bit detached from the book releases, barring Codexes over the past year or two and this Month’s releases have done nothing to pull me back in. As for the game releases, I don’t have anything I can play Warhammer Total War on and this makes me sad.

The letters page about the same as usual, apart from one letter pointing out the scarcity of women in the GW model range.  I like that they pop the critical letters in amongst the sea of praise every now and then.  As unlikely as it seems, given how vocal the fanbase can be, perhaps they mostly get positive stuff and the amount of praise on the letters pages is representative of the type of missives they get … Maybe.

Next is the 30 Years of Warhammer 40,000 behemoth, because it’s way too big to be an article; it goes on and on.  Not that this is a bad thing, as it’s a really entertaining read.  Appropriately starting with a cool two-page picture of the Rogue Trader cover and a big gatefold picture of the Imperium battling Mortartion and the followers of Nurgle.  It then goes through the history of the game and the intentions behind it, from its humble beginnings, to the juggernaut that is 40K today.

As I was reading the article, it brought back some old gaming memories.  For example, the time in second edition when a Vortex Grenade seemingly developed a personal vendetta against my army.  It wiped out almost my entire army by scattering just the right distance and in just the right direction every turn.  If I hadn’t witnessed it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.  Needless to say, I lost that one.

There’s so much content to go over, that it’s tough to cover it all, without ending up with something so large I could put on the Kindle store and call it an e-book.

John Blanche gets a look in and is as interesting as always, there’s loads of lovely pictures.  There are spreads giving a bit of info about some, but not all of the races in 40K.  I should mention the particularly impressive photograph of Eldar, fighting Tyranids.  It’s one to spend quality time looking at.

They cover the evolution of the 40K miniature range, from its very small start, to the gigantic models and how we got where we are now.

There’s a bit about 40K on the tabletop and how it’s always been very much driven by the background.  Although the background hasn’t always been the best, I think this is a fairly accurate point.

It mentions the huge scope for creativity on the behalf of the player within the vastness of the game’s universe.  It touches on the many facets of 40K fandom and how without said fans, that none of it would be possible, which was nice.

I would’ve liked it if they could have interviewed a couple of the creators of the Rogue Trader, but I suppose a lot of them are the competition now, so that was probably unlikely.  Even so, there wasn’t even a peep from Jervis Johnson.

Next comes the Battle Report and this Month’s is a bit of a special one.  It’s two battles linked together, where the result of the first has an impact on when reinforcements arrive in the second.

The first battle is the Ultramarines, led by Roboute, squaring up to the forces of Chaos and it’s an entertaining, fast paced affair, with lots of death, destruction and explosions. While the second is the forces of the Crimson Fists, in a, backs to the wall fight for survival against Orks, on Rynns World and my favourite of the two.

While, in my opinion at least the current Battle Reports aren’t the equal of the ones I used to read, back in caveman times, I am willing to acknowledge that there may well be a bit of a rose-tinted glasses type thing going on.  I do miss the rivalries of old though.  Everybody is so nice to each other now.

The Ultimate guide to the Rhino is a good read and it’s a nice in-depth article about the old workhorse tank, with some nice photography and artwork.

In previous reviews I’ve mentioned how the current Tale of four Warlords hasn’t really been doing much for me and have speculated as to why this might be.  Well it turns out that the real reason may be that I was being a negative Nancy and I haven’t been giving it a fair shake, because I really enjoyed it this Month.  So much so in fact that I’ve been thinking about going back to the start and reading it again.

The new Generals Handbook is out for AoS and while it isn’t really for me, it seems like they’ve done a lot of work on it and it should be very useful to Age of SIgmar players.  I will say though, that AoS continues to have a model range that is knock your socks off awesome.

There’s a Hobbit article that I mentioned earlier and having zero knowledge about the game, I can’t really add anything to what I’ve already said.  Nice for the long-suffering fans though.

Next is a cool little two-page feature on Mortarion and what went into painting him.  I was initially a little on the fence about the new model.  My retro mind was finding it hard to accept him as the same guy as the old Epic Grim Reaper type dude that used to exist.  I’m satisfied now though, that with an appropriate colour scheme he could be thematically very close to the style of that classic model; all I need now are the quids to pay for the pricey bugger.

The Generals Almanac is all about playing your army leaders in your games of Age of Sigmar in character.  Although this is an AoS article, it’s a mindset that lends itself just as well to Warhammer 40,000, or any number of other games.

Kitbash is always a particularly interesting article, but this Month there seems to be more to look at than usual.  There are quite a few that are just simple head swaps, or similar, but even something as basic as this can radically change a model. Then there are the more complex ones, but even these feel achievable, with instructions on how each was done.

There isn’t a lot to say about Armies on Parade that I haven’t said before, but it’s always worth mentioning anyway.  There are some splendid armies on some awesome display boards and it’s never a bad thing to feast your eyes on such splendiforousness. ***

The special Primaris Sergeant is the subject of Paint Splatter, with a nice helpful guide on painting him as a Crimson Fist, which seems fitting.

Modelling and painting features some advanced basing techniques for the new Creeping vines.  There are some snazzy ideas on show here and I find myself inspired; I need some of these, they’re cool.  Although I must mention that Touch of Chaos base, because cool as it is, it must’ve been a pain in the bum to paint.

Next, we find out what the painting team are putting the brushes to in their spare time and I particularly like the Bloodcrushers, by Jay Goldfinch.  Juggernauts are my favourite model that I’ve never painted and that’s something I really need to rectify and they look fantastic in black.  Everything here is a joy to look at, but if I rambled on about everything that deserves a mention, I’d probably still be going next September.  What I will say though, is that James Gallagher’s Witch Aelves, Natalie Slinn’s Kurnoth Hunters and Tom Moores Gutbuster Ogors are all lovely looking models that deserve more than this brief mention.

The Readers Models section is always good to look at, as it’s nice to see well painted models done in styles other than the GW one.  Variety is the spice of life, as somebody who was probably quite clever once said.

In the Bunker has the results of a White Dwarf team Warhammer 40,000 campaign, which amounted to a series of very wee battle reports, which came as a nice surprise in an issue already packed with content.

In summary, it’s a solid issue, with a lot to recommend it.  it’s very 40K heavy, but given that it’s the 40K anniversary issue that was always going to be the case.  With this in mind, it was perhaps not the best Month to release the new Blightwar boxed set for Age of Sigmar, as it seems to have been rather overshadowed and doesn’t even get a mention outside the Planet Warhammer section.  It has some great looking models in it too, so this is a real shame.

Also, no Temporal Distort.  It’s one of my favourite articles, so I hope this is just a one off, due to space constraints; although if they only had one contents page?

So, considering that this is a Warhammer 40,000 heavy issue, I will give it eight and a half Primarchs out of ten. ****

 

 

*Also, a bit of a mouthful when I read that sentence back.

**Grumble not retracted.

***Definitely a word.  The spellchecker doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

****Eight standard Primarchs and one Alpharius.

Review Incoming

After the absence of my August review of White Dwarf, for no one good reason, but lots of mediocre/rubbish ones, the review of the September issue is definitely a thing and it’ll be here either today, or early tomorrow.

It’s a big ‘un, as there is an awful lot of interesting stuff packed into this issue, giving me an awful lot to talk about.  I don’t think I’ve rambled, or digressed too much in it, but it is a review with a fair old amount of wordage. *

That’s about it really.  I just wanted to let folk know and if you’re reading this, then you are one of those folk and now you know, which is nice. **

 

*A real word. I thought the spellchecker was going to disapprove, but it did not.

Also, thanks very much for taking the time to read this; it’s much appreciated.

Underestimation

Do a White Dwarf review each Month I thought.  It’ll make for an easy blog, I read it anyway.  Unsurprisingly I was wrong, it’s not even slightly easy.

It takes at least double the amount of time to read an issue when notes need to be taken and I hadn’t realised how much of each issue I just skipped over because it didn’t interest me, or I didn’t feel like I needed to read it; I’m looking at you Lord of the Rings articles.

When I’m reading with a review in mind I need to read every last smidgen of content, or it’s just not a proper review.  For example, I’d usually skip over a lot of the Planet Warhammer section, just stopping at the bits that piqued my interest.  Now however, I need to take it all in.

It does have its advantages though, as well as drawbacks.  Some of the articles may be ones that I would’ve jumped past previously, but now I read them for review purposes and I find them to be thoroughly decent reads.  It makes me wonder what good stuff I’ve missed out on in the past, due to prejudging an article.  It doesn’t always work out that way.  Sometimes I’ll read an article and it’s about as much fun as going to the dentist. *  Still, I can’t write a review without taking in the good and the bad.

One thing that has come of this is the realisation that my handwriting is bloody awful.  I’m making my notes in a nice, swanky pleather journal that I’ve had for a year or two, as it’s easier than doing it in a Word document while I’m reading a magazine.  My writing is incredibly messy and has a lot of scribbled out words.  Being left handed probably doesn’t help, pens and whatnot, but that’s a blog for another time.

I mentioned up at the top of this blog that it takes a fair bit more time to read White Dwarf when I’m reviewing it.  The current issue is a prime example of that.  I was expecting to have my review ready sometime over the weekend, but it’s far more likely to be Monday, or Tuesday.  I seem to be making more notes this time, hopefully that’s a good thing.

I packed in for the night to write this because I couldn’t face the next two articles without a break (Age of Sigmar and Lord of the Rings respectively) and I realise that I should’ve pressed on because now they’re the first things I’m going to have to read in the morning, but I just couldn’t do it.

The review should be here in a couple of days.  Until next time take care of yourselves, and each other. **

 

*My Dentist is a hecka nice guy, but it’s still a trip to the dentist.

**Channeling my inner Jerry Springer.

Wordless

When I started writing White Dwarf reviews a few Months back it was my intention to do a review of every issue, this hasn’t happened and the August issue has passed me by.  The fact that this has happened bothers me, but I can’t blame anybody but myself for it.

It was only when the September issue dropped through my letterbox yesterday that I realised I’d procrastinated my way through an entire Month, at least as far as writing anything was concerned.  I’ve had a Month full of stuff, but it would be a fib if I said there has been so much going on that I couldn’t have fired up a Word document.

It’s not even like it was a bad issue.  It wasn’t a great one, but it was certainly above average.  It had all the usual plus points and all the usual drawbacks.  Anybody who has read my other reviews will know about my ongoing issue with the contents pages for example.

I kept putting it off until tomorrow and before I knew it my chance to write it had passed and I’m not going to make the same mistake again this Month.  I’m going to get stuck into what looks to be a very cool White Dwarf, as long as you like Warhammer 40K at that is, because there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of anything else.

The aim is to get the review up over the weekend.  That gives me a few days to read WD, make some notes, write the review, tinker with the review and then publish it.

My writing mojo seems to have returned to me, so regular wordiness should now resume and this little nugget of a blog won’t feel quite so lonely soon.

The Return of a Classic

Necromunda picture*

There has been Games Workshop news and I’m really excited about it.  They’re re-releasing Necromunda, with new models, updated rules and one would assume, some super snazzy scenery.

I imagine most people at least know of Necromunda, but for those who don’t it’s a tabletop skirmish game, played with a handful of models, over dense, multi-level scenery.  The best thing about it though, is the way your gang changes over time, a result of what is essentially levelling up.

The events in each gang fight, paired with the way each individual advances, along with equipment available to you, turns each miniature into a little person, a person whose survival you can become quite invested in; at least that’s the way it was for me.

Although I haven’t played it for quite some time, at one point it was my most played game.  I must’ve had hundreds of fights, spread across several gangs and although I remember all of them fondly, my favourite will always be my Escher gang, The Bloody Roses.

They were a motley assortment of ladies, who suffered a great deal of instability in the leadership department.  Some were killed by my nemesis, a Van Saar gang called The Hussars.  One was deposed in a leadership challenge, the woman who won being captured by the authorities some time later, never to be seen again and the last leader of the gang was about to retire when I drifted away from the game.

This is just a small sample of the stories that created themselves and played out on the table-top and I could probably write a blog several thousand words long about all of them.  Necromunda was one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life.  That may sound a little over the top, but it’s true.

Now I know the saying ‘You can’t go back,’ but if I can recapture even a little bit of that magic, that would be flippin’ grand.

 

*The contents of the original Necromunda boxed game.