Saturday, October 29, 2011

A moment of Clarity

I had a moment of clarity over the past week.  For those who follow my blog proabably already know, but for those who don't, I am not buying as much as I used to from GW any more.  There are several reasons why this is the case.  One is the price hikes that everyone is complaining about.  I don't deny that I am curtailing my purchases for that reason.  The fact that I am not playing as much as I used to in Fantasy has definately put a damper in my purchases as well.  My personal financial situation also has limited my options as well, among other reasons. 

What I have been doing as of late is putting a lot of things on the auction block.  I have sold all of my new Bretonnians that I had, as well as most of my chaos army that I still had in boxes.  What I have been doing with the proceeds is to buy classic miniatures.  Predominately models that I have not really seen in a while if at all, but I have been buying some regular old metal Bretonnians as well.  I got them to have something to compare with other manufacturers, and also that I believe that you can never have enough variety in your Bretonnians.  So I am looking for models that fit what I have for the Bretonnians and yet still use them for WAB.  FireForge Games might do the trick for more flamboyant knights, and there are a plethora of manufacturers for a more subdued knight look. I have as of yet to make a decision as to where I want to go with them, but the magic 8 ball is saying both. 

Now I have also been picking up some Chaos models as well.  The older metal knights as well as the Marauders more specifically.  And now for the momenty that you have all been waiting for, the moment where I have what apparently Alcoholics call a "Moment of Clarity" this week (You can thank Pulp Fiction for that, especially when I have visions of Jules when I had it).  My moment of clarity is "why am I still looking for Marauders when the Viking range from a series of different maufactures should be just as good for my taiste?"  I really do see Marauders more as a Conan the Barbarian type of guys rather than the Chaos worshipers like GW is making them.  Likewise my ideas of Chaos Warriors is more of what you would see from the movie "Willow" as well rather than what you get from GW.  I guess that this is yet another way that I am drawing away from GW. 

I was not that sure about how the historical ranges would fare.  Would they have what they need, and is it really what I am looking for?  Well, I did troll through some of the various manufacturer, and found that as a matter of fact, yes I think that I can do it depending on the comparison sizes for viking ranges.  I have not found anything, but I am also looking for Atilla the Hun, or Cossack troops for variety reasons in a Chaos army.  Chaos was my only holdout for human armies that I was going to collect GW models, but with the exception of Chaos Warriors, I believe that is not going to happen as well.  If anyone has any ideas as to what would be good "Kurgan" Marauder, or Chaos Warrior models, I am all ears. 

This is not just stopping at human armies as well.  I collected characters from the Vampire Count Ranges of GW as well as some parts of elite units, mainly because they are cooler models that what GW is using now, and I really did like the bloodline idea back in the 6th.  As far as common troops I really dont have much, however Mantic Games is really catching my eye.  I need to take a look myself with these guys to see if it is what I am looking for, but I am liking what I am seeing.  Some factions that I want to or already are collecting simply have no comparison in my opinion. I really like the Elf lines from Games Workshop, and I have not seen many other lines that compare to them, along with the Orc and Goblin line.  The Chaos Warriors line may be one of them, I have simply not looked for an alternative just yet.  Reaper is another option but on average is not my style. 

I am also looking very carefully as to what is in my inventory that I really want to continue based on the looks of the range.  For instance, the new dwarves are by far a different army type than what I have here in many aspects.  I like a lot of what I have seen in the army but right now I am not sure if this exactly what I want to do with part of my dwarf army.  Despite my penchant for GW Orcs and Goblins, I may be looking for an Orc replacement that is more slimmed down and would fit the other ranges that I am looking for. I am not sure at the moment for new line of orcs, and I may look at classic ranges from GW as well to see what the differences is.  Wood Elves are another quandry for me as well.  I can either use the army currently sold which "looks" like they fit with the other Elf lines, or to collect the older line, which has a limited scope of models compared to the new models, but still looks great.  The good news is that if I dont see myself fielding a classic wood elf army, I can always play a Silvan High Elf army in the likes of Averlorn should I decide to collect the classic wood elf armies.  Clearly I am going to make a few decisions over the next month or two to see which way I am going with what is my primary army for some of the factions that I collect, and not to mention that more comparison pictures will be down the pike as well. (Oddly enough, I dont see that many people doing this for fantasy figures, however I see it all the time for historical figures.)  Either way both my wallet and my WAB armies will benefit no matter what.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A few Comparison Shots

Someone asked me to do a few comparison shots of the IOB High Elves against the troops in the regular box.  I was planning on doing that anyways, but I figured that I would do it now and get it out of the way.  I put the figures in front of graph paper measured out to one inch squares for the large lines, and .10 for each small lines.  It sort of looks like a line up at a police station if the even do these kind of line ups anymore.  The models not IOB are 6th edition plastic/metal models. 

I usually take a calipers to my models if I see something that is not right.  When I calipered the IOB models I noticed that they were different size.  You really do see well the height of the models in the pictures, but you don't really see the width of pieces of the models that well, nor the depth of some pieces as well.  After measuring the minatures, I had to say that it was a "dealbreaker" for me to use the IOB models in my army even in just their own unit.  I still think that it would be visible to me and bug the hell out of me that they were that different.  I have the distinct feeling that the new elite plastic models fit the IOB models well and thus would look larger compared to the older models.  Enjoy!

The swordmaster on the left is from The Isle of Blood set, and the one on the right is the standard metal Swordmaster that we have had for around a decade.  Notice that the metal swordmaster is atleast 1/10 shorter than the plastic ones from IOB.  The IOB sword is a little bent toward the camera so it looks smaller than it really is.  You have a hard time seein in the pictures, but the IOB swordmasters have very large mellons for heads.  So much that their heads don't look even close to each other. 

Here is a set of spearelves in some form.  On the left is a Seaguard model from the IOB.  The center is my own kit bashed spearelf, and the one in the right just the standard spearelf.  The center model is a spearelf body but with a Silver Helm's head.  As you can tell the IOB model is once again taller significantly compared to the older models.  Also, once again, the heads are very much fatter on the IOB models compared to the regular models. 

On this pic, we have the IOB Ellyron Reaver, a Standare Ellyron Reaver, and a Silver Helm.  Now I really cant see much difference in these models heights personally.  I would admit that I dont have a rider nor a head on the IOB Ellyron Reaver.  To be honest I really didn't look at these models that closely and measured them out like I normally do.  I just did not like the looks of the Reavers exactly, when I was perfectly happy with the existing Reavers, and in a pinch, I could do the "Glade Rider Two Step" and kitbash a few glade riders if I really felt the need to do something different.  All in all I have a lot less problem with these models than the other models.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why I am not fond of Re-enactments.

A rather quick post on this topic hopefully(after finishing the article there is no way that this is a quick post, sorry guys).  I decided to comment on the topic of re-enactment gaming for a few reasons.  It explains why I like the periods that I like in WAB and other comperable game systems.  It also explains where I started in the wargaming scene as opposed to going in another direction. 

Personal Background

I was always enamoured with military history ever since I was very young.  Both my Grandfathers were in WWII.  One was at Pearl Harbor when war was imposed on us.  The other was awarded a Distinguishing Flying Cross for downing 7 zeroes in one mission.  I remember their stories even now after both are gone.  Ken Burns came out with his first documentary on the Civil War and that got me really into reading military history.  I subscribed to magazines like "Military History," and while I don't have an extensive library on some of these items, I do add to my collection from time to time when I find a few books that actually bring light to the commentary as opposed to just regurgetating what I already have.  My next item that I want to collect is the Loeb series of books like Polybus, Livy, Caesar, etc. 

Despite all of this information at my hands, I don't see myself as a "History Buff."  In my definition, a history buff can tell you every detail about what they know about in history.  However, getting the reasons why is where I see many history buffs fail.  I call myself an amature historian in that I really try to figure out the reasons why an event in history happened, and determine the cause and effects of said event.  I guess that it is the two years of AP History where I was drilled to do this is still with me.  Even then however I was very good at evaluating events and try to put them into perspective.

Since I am someone who takes pride in knowing his history, why is it that I don't want to re-enact anything in my gaming or even in real life?  Well the answers are below, and yes they do vary based on periods.

Documentation is my Bane. 

The more that I know about the period, the less that I am interested in the period.  WWII and the American Civil War (for anyone outside of the US please forgive me if I switch back to calling it The Civil War, I think it is an American thing) are the worst periods for me personally because I know so much about the periods that I really cant enjoy playing any games in these periods.  For example FOW does not interest me because everything is documentated so well during WWII that I have a hard time separating the game from history.  A little hard to explain, but my personal game gives me more setting questions than I care to ask in what is supposed to be a fun game.  The great thing about playing in the ancient or classical period is that there is little documentation that we still have compared to what we have even for say the Napelonic era of warfare.  Likewise for many parts of the Middle and Dark ages, and I just skip parts that are too detailed for me to play like from Heroditus. 

Hindsight is 20/20 so I know what worked and what didn't

On this one, I have to ask can anyone else not play a Gettysburg re-enactment without the Union Fishook?  If you can then you are a better man that me, because I have a very hard time not doing a re-enactment of Gettysburg without doing some kind of formation like that with Union Troops.  I tried that several times on a computer game to no avail.  Likewise I tried to play The Civil War in a campaign mode and got boored easy for the same reason in that I know what to do and not to do during the start of the war.  Now when I play computer games with opponants on a WWII game, I get a better game, but I do get eventually boored as well.  Also there is at times the inevibility of the game that tends to sour things as well, especially with campaigns.  If you don't have the documentation you can't have any hindsight.  That means that I am not that interested in playing in a game re-enacting Zama for instance but I have no problem in something more obscure.

Personal Attachment to the guys on the table. 

WWII is where I have the hardest time on this issue.  I have a very hard time playing a game with Easy Company of "Band of Brothers" fame in a game of FOW for instance.  I have a hard time playing a game with my Grandfathers Cruiser as well.  Span of time is a very helpful for me to separate myself with the guys on the table.  But if there is someone notable in history even back in the ancient world I still have a hard time.  I am not playing Caesar ever in my WAB games, nor am I ever playing King Leonaideus of Thermopoly fame. 

Ok, what the hell do like to play then?

I dont want to re-invent the wheel I guess and I feel that I am not being creative playing re-enactment games, which is what I see too much in the periods that I dont like.  My Roman army is a good example of what I try to look for in a game of Historical gaming.  I am working on full cohort right now for a 3K game.  I only know of one cohort that is actually noted in any historical context and they ended up in a religious book.  This means that all the other cohorts are fair game basically and I can do anything that I want to them.  Anything from the Ancient world is where I really do like to be right now.  There is where I can squirrel away to a place in history where we know generally what happened but not the details is what I really do like.  Dark Ages, and the Middle ages are also periods where I like as well for the same reason, thanks to the occasional siege that burned out the castle records, no one cares about these bumpkins, etc.  The great thing about these periods for me is that there are holes in history that I can get into and follow my own way.

On another note...

This article also explains why I like Fantasy Gaming as well, but have problems playing LOTR.  LOTR feels too much like a re-enactment game rather than a game that you can go your own path.  Don't get me wrong, there are some elements of the LOTR world that I am interested in and do fit my bill, but too much of it does seem like I am re-enacting either the movie or the book.  Either way it does not work for me. 

To reiterate from a previous post, I started playing WFB back in 1994 and one of the reasons why I was attracted to the game is that there is a lot more that is unwritten about your army than there is in the armybook.  General Fantasy Gaming allows for me to create my own world under a few constructs and general rules.  Playing non-human armies does not allow for much personal attachment for me, and there is absolutely no way that I would re-invent the wheel with this form of gaming since there is no wheel unless I made it.  When you get into something like Mighty Empires that is not with the backdrop of WFB dogma, I can really let my imagination run wild, with our own world.  Thus the reason why and where I started in gaming when I did.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Few Close Ups

As promised in my previous post, here are a few close ups of the pictures of my Dwarf army.  Lets start with my first group of miniatures. 

These warriors are my first set of dwarves that I painted.  While the paint job leaves something to be desired like some basic shading and highlighting, but the poses leave a lot to be desired as well.  I only started with 20 of these and then added 5 more a few years later.  You proabably cant see them but I have improved. 

After my first unit of regular warriors, I put together these guys.  Once again some basic lessons were leaned by painting these guys, and like above, I did add five more dwarves to this unit.  Unfortunately I figured out that it is not the greatest of ideas to have these guys as a block as large as the warrior units.  You live and learn on all fronts I guess. 

Now this cannon I believe that I came next, it all gets fuzzy after the first two.  As you can see these metal guys are showing their age.  They are first on the block as far as repainting.  I have no idea exactly when I plan on doing that but it will be a long time from now I guarantee. 

As stated in the picture, these are the miners.  Once again a few issues with shading and some of these guys are also showing their age. 

This is my unit of Longbeards with a character that I placed in here.  Usually if I want a Lord he is the man that I use.  A little better shading, but still some painting to be desired. 

My unit of Ironbreakers with a Battle Standard Bearer.  Now I really think that at the time that this was the best that I could have done at the time.  I think that I could do better now on the unit for sure, but not that bad at all.  The armour is my special mix to show that they have Gromril armour. 

I should have put this guy up front because he is the oldest model that I still have that is fully painted.  If I every question my ability I take a look at him and compare what I am painting to him.  It always makes me feel better after that.  He used to be my Runesmith, until I retired him. 

I wanted to put my elite core units out there as well.  The model on the top left is my runesmith.  He is part of the "first wave" of painting that I have done.  The guy on the bottom left is my Thane of Pain when I need one.  He is perhaps one of my best works that I have done in my "second wave" of my dwarfs.  I need to make sure that this guy has the cushioning to make sure that he doesnt become like the cannon crew.  Speaking of the second wave here is the bulk of them coming up next. 

My organ gun.  While you can't really see the shading in the picture, the crew's beards are all shaded and not blobs.  This is one of the first in the second wave of models that I did. 

Now this is my best unit painted up right now.  The runesmith here is ranked right up to my thane of pain in quality of painting.  Some of the shading is not showing up well, but this is the best of my painting job with Dwarves. 

Right now I am trying an experiment with my painting in that I have groups of 40K, Fantasy, and WAB all up on my table.  I wanted to try to paint one thing at a time on each group whenever I paint, in order to break the monotony of painting so much of one unit.  It seems to be working ok on that front, but it is taking forever to get everything done.  I guess that I should rather focus on one group at a time.  I am going to try to finish up my Space Marines and knock them out given that they are the closest to being complete, and try something else.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mustering the Horde.

Sorry for the long wait on this post.  I have been very busy with other projects and gone every other weekend for a few events, along with housesitting.  Well I decided to take a few pictures of my Dwarf army and post them here.  More are to come, but here are just a few that I have edited so far.

A panoramic picure of my whole painted dwarf army, less a few models.  This comes in at around 3000 pts. last time that I have checked. 

This is the vanguard of my army for the most part.  I don't really count the pair of bolt throwers in this, it is just that I wanted them on a hill and my core looks cool near a hill. 

This is my missle wing of my army.  Notice that my stone thrower lost its wheel.  I just saw that it happened when I took them out of the box.  Apparently this happened after my last move.  DAMN IT!!!!

Not exactly a missle wing or a core wing of my army, but this is what I had left to put on my table so this is what is left.  My next post will have a few more close ups that will hopefully show you more detail.