Wednesday, August 31, 2011

French Test Paints

Here are the first three painted examples of my Victrix French. The painting itself I am pleased with. I used the GW Badab Black wash rather than my usual Minwax Polyshades dip. I am not very happy with that decision. As usual, these look much better in person. I still can't seem to get good photographic examples of my work.

The first is a line Fusilier.

Next is a line Voltigeur.

Last is a line Grenadier.

The good news is these will be much easier to paint than I thought. I should be able to make good time on the rest of the battalion.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flames of War Fallschirmjager Reinforcements

After more than 10 months I have finally gotten back to my Flames of War Fallschirmjager project. This time I am adding a second HMG platoon and a PaK36 anti-tank gun platoon.

I still need to add a couple more combat platoons in order to have a legal army. I really can't wait to get this on the table. It should be a lot of fun to play.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

More Catachans

I continue to make good progress on my Catachan IG project. This installment has 27 more figures ready to go.

First up is a converted Sgt Harker. This was built with Catachan and Space Marine Scout bits. I think it is a pretty cool take on this character. I did not build this model.

Next we have Catachan Veterans with shotguns. Most of these were built by someone else and have cut-down lasguns as shotguns. The conversions look good. The two with the Necromunda shotguns were built by me a long time ago and I think there were meant to be Necromunda figures.

Next is a selection of special weapons. There is a demo charge, a grenade launcher chick and three converted meltaguns. The metlaguns are made from plastic flamers. These are handy conversions as meltagun models are always in short supply. These were built by my friend Tim several years ago.

Finally we have a bunch of standard troops. Most were acquired already assembled. There are a couple of figures I built using plastic Necromunda bits mixed with Catahan parts and other bits.

This now puts the painted collection well over 100 figures. I got in a few 400 combat patrol games yesterday and the figures looked great on the table even though my game-play left a lot to be desired.

Stay tuned for more. Next up are lots and lots of heavy weapons teams.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Re-based IG Stormtroopers

This is the first of three units of stormtroopers that I am re-basing to use with my Catachan army. I had a hard time making up my mind whether to strip and repaint these figures to more closely match my Catachans or just re-base. In the end laziness won out and I opted for re-basing. I figure as elite troops they would not have to look like the Catachans, besides, these are pretty good paint jobs.

I am making pretty good progress on the project.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Victrix French Line Battalion

All of the Dwarf and Catachan action lately had me looking for a change of pace. I have been doing lots of thinking about various historical projects that i would like to do. To help sooth the urge I decided to build some of my Victrix French Line Infantry that I purchased a few months ago. I bought these because they are cool and I have been wanting to do some Napoleonic games. I intend to use them for Black Powder but I might also try some other rules for the period.

Here we have the first battalion assembled. This is a 28 figure unit and will be based on 50mmx40mm bases from Renendra. The bases did not come with the figures. They actually came with my Perry plastic ACW figures but I am using Litko bases for that project.

These are the line Fusiliers. They are a mix of covered and uncovered shakos. I really like the variation that is possible with this kit.

These are the line Voltigeurs. I went with the tall plume on the shakos for these guys because they look cool. I also based them on the 50mmx20mm bases so that they can skirmish.

Lastly we have the line Grenadiers. These are wearing the bearskin cap. I love the look of these guys and it makes me want to get some of the Old Guard Grenadiers...soon.

I have enough figures left in the first box that I should be able to build a second battalion from that box. That means that each battalion costs about $20. That is an unbeatable price for 28mm figures! You really can afford to do very large armies for prices like that. To make things even better the models are some of the best I have ever seen.

Now I need to paint them. I really am not very knowledgeable on the whole Napoleonic uniform thing. Victrix has made this a little easier as there is a nice painting guide on the box and some good color artwork.

Stay tuned for more on this project...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Re-based Catachans and Ogryns

I finished up the re-basing of my Catachan Veterans and the Ogryns. These guys now match the rest of the Catachans and this gives me 80 completed Catachans and 6 Ogryns for this project. I still need to re-base my IG Stormtroopers and I have about 30 more Catachans on the paint table. THings are moving along nicely with this little project.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

700 Point Durin's Folk Dwarf Army Complete

I have finished the last 12 models for my Tale of Four LOTR Gamers challenge. This means the army is DONE! For this last batch I added a Dwarf King and more warriors and archers.

Here we have the completed army.

The army now consist of:

Dwarf King
Dwarf Captain
Dwarf Banner
9 Khazad Guard
15 Dwarves with 2 handed axes
16 Dwarves with bows
16 Dwarves with shields

This give me a solid core of a Dwarf Army and from here I can switch out a few models to make a different army. I still have several models in the collection to paint and I will be posting them as I get them done. For now, I am done painting these guys.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Catachan Jungle Fighters

Tim and I have been talking and planning a 40k Combat Patrol event. Part of the planning has been ideas for themed tables. One of the tables I have been wanting to do for a long time is a jungle table. I came up with some cool ideas and I got to work. When building terrain I always keep a figure model around to test the fit and the look. For this project I had a Catachan figure. That was a mistake. You see it was unpainted and just did not look right. Before I knew it I had 50 Catachan figures on the table and the jungle terrain was pushed aside.

I had no plan for this I just grabbed some unpainted figures and jumped in. Most of this collection is old. I have had most of it baking in my garage for 10+ years. Most of these figures were acquired through various trades and purchases. All of the figures in this post were assembled by someone else. Many already had some paint or primer on them.

I didn't do anything special, I just dusted them and cleaned them a little and started to work.

Since I had no plan when I started painting I have not put these figures into units. There are enough to do a good sized infantry platoon with a heavy weapons squad.

I will still have several commander types as well as special weapons left over.

These guys have been painted to match my Imperial Guard Veterans from an earlier post. The Vets will need to have the basing completed to match the rest of the army. My Ogryns will also be added to this army and will also need some basing work. With the demise of the Daemonhunter's codex I now have 30+ stormtroopers that will be pressed into service with the Catachans. These stormtrooper figures are in a blue uniform and will need to be repainted green. I am not sure if I will do a full paint strip or just paint green over the blue.

I am working on a deal to buyout some extra stuff from a local gamer and Tim has a few extras to chip in. I still have 20 more Catachans on the paint table and parts to build dozens more. I also have 3 sentinels, 3 Leman Russ and a Hellhound. Oh, and a Valkyrie. Lots more to do on this one...lets see how long it take for burnout to set in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What is Wrong With Game's Workshop?

Let me start of by saying this is not just some 'I hate GW' rant. I am a long time customer of GW and I am a fan of most of the stuff they do. Having said that I am starting to see a major shift not just in what GW is doing but also how the local gamers are responding.

As I said I am a long time GW customer. I started with Necromunda in about 1997 and then gradually moved into Warhammer 40,000. With the release of the first Lord of the Rings box set in 2001 I jumped into that game. I have never been what GW might consider the ideal customer and I have never been part of their target demographic (I started with GW games in my 30's). I have generally been a gamer who has been on a tight budget and so I have had to be creative about how I acquire new models and items for my collections. I buy new or used. I buy from local stores, GW stores, eBay sellers and online retailers. I also purchase from local gamers. Even with the frugal approach I figure I have spent thousands of dollars on new product in the last 14 years. I don't feel I am an unusual GW customer but I am they type that GW feels is not worth their time to make happy. Oh well.

During the entire time I have been a 'GW Hobbyist' a few things have remained constant:
1. New versions of core games get released every few years
2. New versions of the rules spawn new codex releases
3. New codices make units or models obsolete and new models and units are released
4. Prices are increased just about every year

For the most part this business model has never really concerned me. I hate price increases just like everyone else but the fact is since I started playing GW games I have never been able to afford to do all my gaming purchases for full retail. This is true even though I make more than three times as much money as I did in 1997. GW prices have kept ahead of my wage increases which means I still buy used and trade as much as ever. Oh well.

It seems that this business model has been working just fine for GW and certainly the last few years have seen huge increases in their growth. But something does not seem right to me. I have been thinking that GW has been making some huge mistakes for the last year or so. I recently looked over the financial statement, like most gamers, trying to find a clue as to what is bothering me. I will not try and go into the details of the report as much more knowledgeable people have already done some good work with this. I did see a couple of things; one was pretty obvious. Revenues and profits are down but not a lot. The other thing I noticed, and the thing that is really the point of the post, is that GW seems to be obsessed with quality.

Now this is a good thing right? There is tons of talk in the financial report pointing out that GW makes the best figures in the industry. How FineCast models will revolutionize....something. The report is full of this stuff and you know they are right. Game's Workshop makes the best game models out there. What was missing was any reference to making the best GAMES in the industry. Strange, the name of the company is Game's Workshop but they are being run the company as if the their name is Citadel Miniatures.

Several people have written articles on their blogs about different types of gamers. You know the ones 'there are x types of gamers and they are...' They generally point out there are people who like the games, people who like the models and people who like to build and paint them. Why is this important? Well, it seems that GW has decided that the model collector and painter is their target. These are the folks GW thinks are the primary consumers of their products. I see myself as a collector and a painter first but I do love the games. This is where I think GW is making their huge mistake.

I believe the game is the most important product GW makes. Without the game there is nothing to drive the sales of the models no matter how cool they are. Without the game a collector would not need more than a couple of Space Marines. Without the game who would need more than one or two Minotaurs? Without the game how many Ring Wraiths do I really need? As further proof of this idea consider my attempts to get into Warhammer Fantasy Battles. I had been collecting Beastmen for some time and had the WHFB 7th edition rules and codex. I had never played and then 8th edition came out. I spent more money on a new rulebook and codex. Then I discovered that 8th edition was generally hated and that players were jumping to Warmachine. I had no one to play against. So instead of continuing to purchase the cool new Beastmen models and continue to paint what I had collected I sold the entire collection and moved on. It was the models that got me hooked but the rules that lost me.

In the local game community this has happened dozens of times. Long time WHFB players are getting out of the game and selling off huge collections so that they can play a better game (or at least a game that they enjoy more). For the first time I can remember GW has real competition for the gamer and they don't even know that they are a game company. For additional proof of this remember that most of the best game designers for GW are now gone and most are still writing game rules for companies that are going straight for GW's market. And these game designers are doing good work.

So what does all this mean? First I think it means that people who claim that GW manipulates the rules to drive sales may be giving them too much credit (or are taking a very simplistic view). Second, if you think that GW cares about the quality of the game-play you are mistaken. To GW the rules are very similar to the White Dwarf - an advertising tool.
I do not think that any of this means that GW is on the way out but I do think that things may be changing. They have competition and they seem to be losing customers. This will force them rethink their business model. Hopefully, they will realize that the game is the main product and they will work to improve the quality of the rules to match the quality of the models and the richness of the background.

Oh well...time will tell I guess.