Friday 31 May 2019

Where's my head @?

The Sanctum Imperalis hasn't broken me but I am in a challenging place at the minute hobbywise. My number one goal for this Hobby Season was:
Develop a more healthy hobby/life balance - go to bed at a decent hour[ish], keeping a record might help [although tried it already for 2 months and it didn't]...
And I'm not sure I've got anywhere close to that. Recently though I've at least been able to contemplate the thought 'if I feel tired, then I shouldn't go to the man cave, I should go to bed'. I tend to achieve the first bit but end up sitting watching TV or glued to my phone [now THAT is an addiction!]. I might manage an 11:30pm but that's still not the 10:45pm I could achieve when the realisation initially hits.

My evening is routinely spent watching a TV show with my eldest. Game of Thrones, The Expanse, American Gods, Taskmaster, Alan Partridge amongst others. We watch these ordinarily from 9- 10pm. Except he's revising and busy and often he's now only getting down at 9:30-9:45 which means my hobby time is being compressed. This leaves me with two options - to start painting at 10:30 and risk end up painting later than midnight [I can't seem to leave before then] or not paint at all...

But I've realised that time with my son should be the priority. In less than 18 months he'll be looking to go to university, with his current first choice being Oxford! I know right, super proud if he gets that opportunity. So our nightly TV sessions are time limited and the hobby will be there afterwards.

So I'm currently split 50:50 between wanting to paint and not wanting to paint. Some might suggest I've lost my mojo or motivation but having been there before this feels different. It's more like the situation at Ferrari - Vettel has a priority in 50:50 situations. Meaning, given the choice, I'm currently doing nothing instead of painting. That's not a bad thing, aside from not getting any hobby in, I am vaguely meeting my 'hobby/life balance' criteria so I shouldn't feel guilty about it but after so long persistently active it feels like I should. When you think about the hobby constantly its tough to reconcile not acting on any of those thoughts.

The deadline for the Sanctum was a week earlier than I thought so there was a reason [and pressure] to deliver it, which helped me through this. It wasn't actually the deadline in the end but it did overwhelm any doubts or obstacles so I could just get it done.

But it has left me asking what is my motivation, what do I want to do with my hobby?

I'm left with models that I either have to paint or those I want to paint.

Obviously I have a Hobby Season To Do List that can help marshal my thoughts and offer me a direction but a lot has changed since I wrote that list and I'm left questioning what I'm fundamentally  getting out of my hobby efforts at the moment. That's not to say this questioning would change my priorities but I think I shall definitely be looking to paint what I want to - going with the flow, in the foreseeable future. That said I have to paint that Dark Shroud, so if I get that out of the way it'll be one less thing to worry about.

Frustratingly I know structure, planning and a deadline are always great motivators to help direct my efforts but right now I can't contemplate having that rigidity imposed. I'll paint as and when I want and just see what comes out. I'm hoping I'll be happier with this, even if it's less productive.

Monday 27 May 2019

Terrain is everything - Sanctum Imperialis - Home stretch

By the time you read this the Sanctum Imperialis will be complete. All the finials have been painted,

as well as the buttons and lanterns.

Buttons and screens have been done internally too.

With just some select Tamiya Clear to be added after varnishing.

I tried to keep the button colour limited to warm colours, just didn't want yet another set of colours, it's already garish.

And, having bust a gut to meet the weekend deadline for the store painting challenge it turned out it is next weekend afterall! Still, having that deadline pushed me to finish so I don't mind.

Now what...?

Friday 24 May 2019

Dark Angels - Redemptor Dreadnought Big Build - TO DONE!

Building models alwaysfeels like a day job to me but most of my hobby time is at night. I'd got to the point where I needed to do his pose and that had to be the obligatory 'standing on something' that is all the rage. Of course that becomes fiddly, cutting plastic pegs off to allow joints to rotate, trying to old poses in place while poly-cement and super-glue dry, but somehow I managed it.

I have to admit I do like this dreadnought. When it was first revealed I wasn't fussed but having one it seemed churlish not to build it and it's deceptively bulky too. I was easilt convinced it was bigger than my Warglaives, but it's shorter - clearly the extra bulk adds a few inches in height.

To that end I may call him Brother Jacamo. His main weapon is just push fit but the others are glued in - 8 Storm Bolter shots seems the better fit than the Fragstorm

My only issue is the ball of the waist joint is almost out of the socket. Not sure if I need to disguise this somehow, possibly greenstuff ribbed tubing, as if it's a flexible joint, not a ball-joint.

 But my previous suggestion of putting the Ravenwing Relic [rope things] on his back might distract the eye from this and I removed two of the rivets where it was to attach.

And it would fit thusly.

Or more accuratley, unfortunately I've only gone and lost that piece, Now theres one on ebay for £3, all the bits sites are out of stock or a full Ravenwing upgrade sprue is £9 direct from GW... I really don't need to make a decision just yet, perhaps I'll find it.

The plan is to base and undercoat this and then leave it for Dreadtober. I know you're supposed to build and paint throughout the month but it's still a stretch for me just to paint the darn thing so a headstart will give me the best chance of completing it. My Imperial Knights were last years effort, with my hope to finish building them both but due to Oscar's illness I couldn't face the hobby for a good couple of weeks, which is what it took in November to get them 'built'.  Still this is TO DONE!

 I builds it, I gets the badge!

Monday 20 May 2019

Terrain is everything - Sanctum Imperialis - Slow but grimy

This is becoming somewhat of a saga now. I've got all the stains to do and the shading but staining all these rivets is incredibly tedious and despite it solving my issues with the verdigris my motivation is through the floor - I think I need to do a separate 'where's my head @' post to get that all off my chest/mind

But I persevered and used my Vallejo Sepia wash and as you can see on the left, where I thinned it the wash split exactly like Seraphim Sepia. However, I was washing it again with black so I was not disheartened, in fact the result is great.

I did a fair few panels before I stopped thinning it with water, it's a bit harder to work it into the crevices without but I eventually learned my lesson.

There are a lot of rivets and areas that needed shading.

But the sepia followed by Army Painter Dark Tone managed to bring it all back down to an acceptable level.

The big ruin was a daunting prospect though and it took a fair bit of motivation to tackle all those rivets.

Question: do I paint the scrolls either side of the door like paper, or leave them as carved stone relief?

I desperately want this done, the left hand side needs all the Sepia and black which means there are only fine deatailing to do - wires, rebar, glass FX, buttons and varnishes. It's very close but very much hard work to push it over the line. Just found out this needs to be complete for Friday, as it's the last May weekend and the 'large model' category is due for this month. I had thought it was the next weekend but that's 1st of June. So I need to crack on now!

Friday 17 May 2019

1750pts battle report - Imperial Knights & Dark Angels v Tyranids

Otty had a free evening and wanted to arrange a game but that created a problem as I wanted to run my Knights for convenience but I was certain Otty's Tyranids would be on the road to a hiding if I did. Once again I looked at some of the narrative missions but as it turned out we went with the same mission I played with Liam - the Echoes of War mission in Vigilus Defiant called Forlorn Charge. It was Knights and Freeblades versus Ork Stompas, Morkanauts and Gorkanauts. It compressed the Knights into a 2'x2' corner with the 'Orks' creating their 'scrap city' and deploying first. There were also benefits for running a Fortification network and some additional stratagems.


What we did was swap out the Ork elements for Monstrous Creatures. This wasn't too bad really as victory conditions were for my Knights to destroy all his Knights and buildings for a Major Victory, Minor if I killed more than were left alive and Defeat if it was any other result. Otty went with 2 Tyrannofex, Old One Eye and 5 Screamer Killers, a Harpy, a Trygon and a Trygon Prime and a load of Hive Guard which we put in his Bastion with a Quad Gun. All in I think he had around 2,000pts [not including the Bastion].

Otty deployed the terrain and put the Bastion [gaining 3CP extra] in his back corner out of reach of my Knights with the Hive Guard inside. The Tyrannofex and Harpy offered support.

But he deployed the Carnifex right opposite me just 12" away. Now the mission stipulates I would get first turn but I realised with his Carnifex that close my Knights would stomp all over them so I gave him first turn. Tyranids had raised a barricade across the battlefield to slow my advance down.

The Tyrannofex shot at the Lancer, doing some damage with the Harpy. The Hive Guard were out of range. Otty's scratchbuilt Spore Pods almost look like they've just disgorged the monstrous brood, they did however form sufficient obstacles to prevent a straight run at my Knights.

So charge distances were not a sure thing at least.

Out of the 6 Carnifex OOE and 3 others were the only ones to make their charge. A bikes took mortal wounds from the charge, then Lady Pettorini was battered, first one Screamer Killer taking off 3 wounds, then another taking 3 more. Then Old One Eye ripped her to pieces with 18 and thus illustrates our lack of experience. OOE should have gone first and then I should have interrupted, but I forgot and Otty was systematically going from left to right instead logically going from best to worst.

To cap it all I eagerly wanted to blow up, hoping to use the Noble Sacrifice stratagem but was reading the Valiant Last Stand, which would have allowed me to attack if I didn't blow up and I got a 6, so it blew up anyway! I could have re-rolled and then used the strat but it was all so farcical. Bikes died in the explosion a Carnifex took 5 wounds, OOE and another 1 and the final one 6. Ser Ellenbogen and and Armiger also took damage.

With the Carnifex being the immediate threat I repositioned, with the Ravenwing falling back, Ser Ellenbogen vaporising one Carnifex and the Warglaive taking another. I charged the three remaining monsters and killed OOE, but Otty used the strat to attack before he dies - putting wounds on my Knights. He then used the interrupt strategy too! Suddenly my combat phase was Otty's and yet more wounds went on the Knights, the Lancer was down to 13 at least.

It was not enough though and Warglaive and Ser Ellenbogen wiped the Carnifex from the face of the planet, just the last remaining Carnifex in that corner. It was quite surprising how ineffective OOE was this turn, to which I think I recalled in the first round we'd been doing 2's to wound on the Knights when it should have been 3's.

My second Warglaive had tried to bring the Harpy down but failed due to being damaged. The Harpy returned the favour in Otty's turn 2 over-flying the Knight and leaving Spore Mines in my DZ.

But with Heavy Venom Cannons the Armiger couldn't stand.

 Bursting from the ground the Tyrgon and Trygon Prime were possibly going to stall my advance and allow the Tfex another round of shooting. I think the second Warglaive was their target and I burned a re-roll to keep it's last wound and force the second lot of shooting on it.

It took the brunt and fell, sacrificing itself to leave the larger Knights [mostly] unmolested.

Ser Ellenbogen smooshed the Carnifex and moved off, with neither of the Trygon's making their charges - the Tyranid barricade proving equally disruptive to it's own as well as the Knights.

But not in my turn as the Lancer stormed behind one Trygon and Ser Ellenbogen went for the Prime.

Inevitably the Tyranids couldn't stand against such titanic opponents and both Knights consolidated toward the remaining monsters and Bastion.

The Tyrannofex were not to be steamrolled so easily though and took all but 1 wound off the Lancer with their Rupture Cannons and the managed to take it down with a single Stinger Salvo wound that I failed to save. With the Lancer gone Ser Ellenbogen couldn't make the charge to the last Tfex [the other one shot by the Thermal Cannon]. And with that we called it a night, I'd secured a minor victory with the Carnifex gone anyway.

Thankfully Otty felt like it was a good game but clearly it was very one-sided in favour of the Knights, despite:
  • 250pts+ extra
  • a free Bastion
  • first turn advantage
  • Deployment map having just 12" no man's land
  • OOE wounding on 2s instead of 3s
  • forgetting to 'interrupt'
It just illustrates the advantage Knights have over some other factions [or in general] and taking into account I'm not a good player too! Next time I'll go back to Tyranids as I think there are learning opportunities for us both if we run the same faction, much the same way as I learned things when Liam and I both had Knights. With hindsight the Hive Guard were wrongly positioned in the Bastion, if they'd been in the crater behind the Capillary Tower they'd have been double shooting each turn. Also the Trygons could have been on the board with the Carnifex or on my other flank to force me to split my army up. Again that 12" No Man's Land and first turn could have been used more to Otty's advantage. Hindsight = 20:20!

Wednesday 15 May 2019

What GW should do - Space Ghosts

Now the thing with a blog is quite often you have an idea for a post and then sit on it. I've 20 draft posts, a dozen of which are probably posts I should just finish/publish so I don't have their ugly 'draft' status staining my dashboard, so here's one I prepared earlier, much earlier!

In case you didn't know I've bought Citadel Miniatures and GW products since the late 80's. I also have a blog, it's quite cool you can view it here. Those two facts alone qualify me to make 'suggestions' to Games Workshop and their subsidiaries in how they can grow their company/improve their products. On many of the forums and social media platforms you see people theorise, or usually ask, what GW will do next or what new faction they'll create. A while back I was struck by a vision of one such faction. To be fair it's not a great idea and I'm sure when GW announce something wholly new we'll be super impressed, but I was compelled enough to put it down on [digital] paper and then couldn't be bothered to publish but now I've bit the [mass reactive] bullet and I give you - Space Ghosts!

Sometimes GW creates something that is pretty darn special, exceeds expectations and potentially creates even further things. Case in point the Lord of Plagues - this model is an absolute classic. I'd love to know where it stands on the most popular figure sold numbers. John Blanche himself must have hundreds!
Courtesy of Games Workshop
And this success eventually spawned some similar models to try and capitalise on it's awesomeness - we got the Putrid Blight Kings. Models that bore a passing resemblance, following the same aesthetic but growing your unholy filthy horde. Not forgetting Gutrot Spume and the Lord of Blights.

Also in Age of Sigmar they learned a lesson from this with Spirit Hosts - these were undoubtedly awesome and commonly used in 40k too.

They must have been successful because they eventually got their own faction - evolving into the stunning Night Haunt. And that even brought new technical paints to the table too!
Which begs the question - what the flip are you talking about Dave? Well, in a few months time we will have every Codex complete for 8th Edition 40k. The Sisters will be due in 2019, blessed be the faithful who waited for that Blue Moon but after that the Universe is their oyster. Age of Sigmar has shown true creativity in bringing new armies - Kharadron Overlords and Idoneth Deepkin for example into their worlds. So what of a new and different army for 40k? Well this is one of the questions that  gets bandied about all the time and I had a sudden idea to take the highly successful fantasy ghosts and why not make 'space ghosts'? But not so much ghosts as a purely energy based army, beings of non-corporeal power.

 You could extrapolate the Night Haunt into angular lightning beings, again the recent Malign Sorcery spells show just how cool and exciting that sort of abstract shape can be. And all those lightning bolt style extrusions would be snapped up loads to kitbash Psykers using their powers! I know as a concept it's kind of lazy - GW will no doubt eventually come up with something that is totally unique and awesome but I just thought Space Ghosts would be pretty cool. When I originally wrote this they hadn't even come up with the Skaven spells but lo-and-behold that sort of angular lightning effect was something they'd already begun to explore

What do you think could be next?