What you see above is the last 9 models I had to paint to complete my Independent Characters 2014 Painting Challenge. They were half-finished on my workbench two weeks ago, but now they're all finished and ready for the tabletop. This finally completes the army I started working on 10 months ago. Actually, I started on this army in April of last year...
It's been a fun project, and I've had opportunities to practice things like freehand details and a bit more weathering than I normally do, so it's been a good learning experience. That doesn't mean my Templars army is done, though. I still have to paint:
- Chaplain Grimaldus and his retinue
- A power fist Chaplain
- A Marshal (well, a Captain/Chapter Master now)
- 10 Honor Guard
- A Drop Pod
- A Dreadnought
- A Stormraven
- 2 more Rhinos/Razorbacks
That could easily keep me busy for a few more months, but other than the Honor Guard and Drop Pod (which are already on their way to being finished), I can take a break for a while and get to my other armies (like my Chaos Marines, which have a number of units in post-priming limbo). Well, I might squeeze the Stormraven in; gotta add a flyer for fun.
That is the question, isn't it? This past week, I managed to grab an older plastic Leman Russ and a Basilisk for my IG army, and as I work on ideas for it I find myself second-guessing my original ideas. Originally, I'd been thinking about converting the army into a sort-of Armageddon Steel Legion army. However, as I go through the overall look and the logistics and such, I'm wondering if I just shouldn't go with the standard Cadians.
It all comes down to look, personality, and long-term ease of expansion. Cost isn't too much of an issue, although plastic Cadian heads are somewhat cheaper from bits vendors than the Pig Iron heads (it's something like $6 for 20 Cadians versus $10 for 20 Pig Iron), although you get more variety in the Cadian heads, including unhelmeted heads for sergeants and commanders. Look, though, is huge. The Pig Iron heads do not look like Steel Legion heads, no matter how much I'd like them to. Also, I can't sculpt worth beans, so I'll never make the Cadian bodies look like they have longcoats and gloves. At best, they'll look like bad knock-offs. They won't look bad on their own, but they'll never look like Steel Legion troops. Would I rather have Cadians that definitely look like Cadians, or not-Cadians that don't look like anything in particular?
Confusing the matter more are these guys:
I have a squad of 10 of the Forge World hostile environment Cadians, presumably to use as Storm Troopers or Veterans. These guys fit the Cadian look far more than the Steel Legion look (because they are Cadians), and don't look like the Pig Iron heads at all. I can't head-swap them, either, because the heads and torsos are one piece. To keep the look of the army generally more coherent, that puts points in the Cadian side of the equation.
As far as Personality, well, the Pig Iron heads kind of lack that entirely. Oh, they have a very definite look, with a distinct WW2 German helmet-plus-gas-mask feel. The problem is, though, that they're all the same. Every single one of them is identical. I already have one army of faceless, identical infantry (Tau Fire Warriors, anyone?), and I don't know if I want a second one. Cadian heads, though, at least vary somewhat. Sure, there are only so many options, but that's still more than "one". I kind of like the idea of my IG troopers being semi-unique people; even my Black Templars get to have different helms spread across the army. Sure, it means painting a little bit of fleshtone, but I can live with that.
Finally, there's ease of expansion. I can take Cadian kits off the shelf and use them as-is without having to worry about whether I'll run out of heads and need to order more. That makes shelf-to-tabletop time a lot shorter and the process a lot easier.
So... am I bailing out on this too easily? I mean, this isn't my primary, secondary, or even tertiary army, so I'm not deeply invested in it. I can still use my DKoK Quartermaster as is, I think; company commanders can be geared out however they'd like. Or he could just be a display piece and I can use standard Cadian commanders. The more I think about it, the Cadian solution seems to be the way to go for a consistent-looking army with some personality. There's nothing saying I can't change up the color scheme from the standard green-and-khaki, of course, to make them unique.
Oh, to have a TARDIS. It'd be awesome to have access to infinite space and time, and it seems like money is never an object when you have a TARDIS at your disposal. Of course, being me, I'd probably find a way to work it into my hobbies. What games would I play if I had space, time, and money were not a concern? I can think of a few. Here, in no particular order, are five such games...
1. Warhammer Fantasy Battles
I already have the start of a WHFB army - High Elves - but apart from the models from Island of Blood, I don't have anything assembled, and I'm hemming and hawing on whether I want to keep it or not. I've put it up for sale on a couple of places to see if there's any bites with no luck, so I'm either going to have to put it on eBay or hang onto it for now. I've said before why I don't play Fantasy, and while that was three years ago, a lot of the concerns still hold today. The armies are just so large model-wise, which makes the cost a bit prohibitive when I have 40K as my main go-to game. Throw in the time to assemble and paint all those models - let alone play with them - and the space required to store them, and it's just not practical right now. I'd love to give the game a spin, though. I'd even love to play it at lower point levels where my smaller collection would fit in. However, the percentage-based system for army building, especially for Lords and Heroes, seems to make that unworkable. Admittedly, I don't yet "get" listbuilding for Fantasy, so I don't see how it works or what I should take at those lower levels (never mind that the percentages make some of the minis I do have, like the IoB Prince on Griffin, unusable at lower levels).
2. Firestorm Armada
My interest in this game has mostly grown from listening to Jaded Gamercast (which helped spur my Fantasy interest as well), and it seems like it's one of those games that has a relatively low buy-in at first. Fleet starter, rulebook, maybe a deck of cards, and you're off! Thing is, I'm already dabbling in a few other low-model-count games, like Malifaux, MERCS, and X-Wing, and while I may not have played all of them, I have minis already. More importantly, I know other poeple who play, so I can theoretically get games in sometime. Not so with FSA. On the other hand, if I had a couple of fleets sitting around, maybe I could get something together and teach someone. That, of course, would double my investment in time and money and space. But if my supply of all three were unlimited, then I'd go for it in a heartbeat.
3. Battlefleet Gothic
Take Firestorm Armada, add in my love of 40K, and then add a twist of increasing unavailability. For this one, I'd not just need unlimited time, but rather a time machine (where's that TARDIS?) to get in at its peak. The good thing, though, is that I know enough 40K players that if I could get my hand on some, I could probably lure people in for a game or three with fleets for their army of choice.
Now, for this one I'd want a time machine, but not to get the miniatures. I'd want it to go back to my high school days, when I got my first taste of Battletech. I loved it, and I wish I'd held onto what I had, back in the days of the Unseen mechs and cardboard popup figures. I'd then use my time machine to jump to when the 25th Anniversary box came out with the plastic minis, which I missed out on because I had to choose between games I already played actively and one that I might like to dabble in again. If I had all the time and money I needed, though, I'd gladly take this one up again.
This one just looks interesting, but I already have a near-future skirmish game in MERCS. I also don't know if I could get many people into it because of the rules complexity. In fact, I'd probably just get this one for the minis if I had the time and space to paint and store them. Oh, and space for all of the terrain that the game requires to work properly (which would do double-duty for Infinity and MERCS).
So... what about you? What games would you play if you had all the time, space, and money you'd ever want?
Normally, I try to keep my number of active projects to a minimum, preferably no more than one or two. This doesn't necessarily include half-done things that I'll get back to eventually (like my Malifaux crew), but things I've actively worked on in the last week or so. However, something about this month had me grabbing things right and left and starting work on them. I don't know if I'm just particularly inspired or what.
First off, the additional Crusaders for my Black Templar painting challenge:
Next, my Honor Guard:
These guys are cobbled together from the new Sternguard and Vanguard boxes, along with bits from the Black Templar kit and a few spare pieces from the Command Squad. See the guy with the staff back there? That's a banner pole, and the banner is also primed black and ready for freehanding. I figure I'll paint it separately and then glue it on when I'm done, so his body is easier to paint.
In honor of them, I also started on a Drop Pod, because I want multiple ways to get them into the fight:
It's very early yet; I've just been using Boltgun Metal on the doors and interior, and I'll probably give that some cursory touch-up before slathering the whole thing in a black wash. After that, it's on to cleanup. This one could go either way - very quick and simple, or very slow and detailed. Going to try to cheat my way down the middle with washes and such.
Not to be ignored, I finally got around to working on my Eldar Rangers, along with Illic Nightspear to make them Pathfinders:
In retrospect, basecoating them blue when I spray-based the rest of my Alaitoc Eldar was a mistake, because there's actually very little blue on them. They're not quite done yet; I'll work on finishing them after the Crusaders, since they're the next most finished unit not in a painting challenge. Again, washes have been so good to me here, especially on the robes. I'm also doing their helms in bone and then hitting them with a yellow glaze. I did this on my war walkers recently, and I love how it came out.
Finally, my Chaos Marines are getting some love too, in the form of some air support:
I'm in the very early stages of assembly on the Heldrake. I'm keeping the wing assemblies separate for easier painting. I probably should have kept each wing panel separate, but this is a decent compromise between speed of assembly and paintability. I will say that as complex as the model looks, the kit is very easy to put together. I really like it.
I also have a Stormraven for my Templars, but it's still sitting in the box. I imagine I'll assemble it after the Heldrake's together (minus the wings, of course).
I completed my High Marshal Helbrecht last night/this morning. He's not quite up to par with the official 'Eavy Metal paintjob, and the Finecast model ended up being rougher in spots than I'd originally thought, but all in all I'm very happy with him. Technically, this would have finished my painting challenge army, but since the new codex changed things up I have mode models to build and prime this week.
Also, last weekend I picked up the new Tactical Squad, Sternguard Veteran Squad, and Vanguard Veteran Squad boxes, all to ensure that I have enough bits to make my add-ons, including the Honor Guard I'm planning. So many cool bits in the two Vet boxes, so I should have no problem making my Honor Guard look awesome, especially with all the spare Black Templar bits I have floating around.