2014: Time To Get Back To Work

Has it really been two months since I’ve blogged last? Apparently, it has been. I think I can chalk that up to a combination of busy schedules and cold temperatures. Besides the holiday season, I found and started a new job in late November/early December, and the transition ate up some time. However, the new job has a shorter commute and easier hours, so I think I can easily get back to working and blogging. Well, blogging, at least – the last month has been so cold in my garage/working space that it’s been uncomfortable to work there. I’m going to have to start taking small batches of miniatures out and working on them elsewhere in the house to get any work done. I’d use an electric heater – and I have one – but unfortunately the way the house is wired, we can’t have it and the one we use to keep the girls’ bedroom warm at night going at the same time, and the kids take precedence over the toys.

Unlike last year, when all my codexes got updated, this year should be pretty light on new purchases (apart from books, of course). However, I’ve got a backlog of work to keep me busy over the next 12 months. Let’s see what’s still on the table:

Tau: This is army is pretty much finished, apart from some fine detail I’d like to go back and apply. The one exception to this is Commander Farsight, who sits unfinished on my workbench. I’m hoping to finish him off before the end of winter. I keep kicking around the idea of doing the rest of The Eight as well, and I have a couple of spare unassembled Crisis Suits that I could put towards the cause. Considering what I don’t have, though, like a spare Broadside and Riptide, it’s a project for another time. Farsight will be enough for now.

Black Templars: My Honor Guard are still unfinished, as are a Drop Pod and Stormraven. Beyond those, I also have Grimaldus and his retinue waiting in the wings, along with a Marshal (well, a Chapter Master now, I suppose) and a pair of Rhinos. I’ll try to finish the first three soon, and anything beyond that will be painted as needed.

Chaos Space Marines: So much to paint. So, so much to paint. While I finished this army as my painting challenge in 2012, I’ve since expanded and revised it, and it needs more painting. Bikes, Cultists, Havocs, Noise Marines, Chosen, and a Dark Apostle are all waiting. Oh, and a Heldrake. Can’t forget that. I even have a pair of almost-fully-assembled Defilers that need to be completed. There’s also a Chaos Vindicator kit in my hobby closet that’s still unassembled, but I’m in no hurry to get to it.

Eldar: I still have yet to finish my Pathfinders, along with Illic Nightspear (so that they’re Pathfinders and not just Rangers), and there’s some Warp Spiders, Warlocks, and a Farseer that are just primed and awaiting paint as well. While I’ve kicked around the idea of adding a Battleforce to this to pad it out as a full force, for now I’m just going to keep it as a small allied detachment. At most, I might add a Wraithlord to it, just because I want to have an Alaitoc sniper Wraithlord. No rush on that, though.

Chaos Daemons: Ever since my Chaos Marines got updated, I lost Lesser Daemons and had to upgrade this to an allied detachment. Fortunately, I have a bunch of Daemonettes primed and waiting to be integrated in. Just need to get around to it. As far as other models, some Seekers might be nice (even though I dislike the torsos and heads), but again, no rush to add much more.

Imperial Guard: Still working on stripping these. As time has passed, I’ve increasingly lost interest in working on them, though. I just don’t think they’re my kind of army. I might see if I can find them a new home. If anyone’s interested, leave me a comment!

Realm of Battle Board: Still primed, still need to work on it. The challenge here has been workspace; it’s too big for my current workbench, and the other half of the garage, where I would paint it, has been turned into temporary storage. We’re working through that, though, and the area is almost clear enough to work in! I think this one should go fast once I get it started, as it’s big brush work.

Besides all of the above, I’ve got a (metal) Malifaux crew to finish, and other assorted personal projects. Oh, and Relic Knights is coming – supposedly, the miniatures are in production and should be moving into distribution Any Day Now ™. When those land, it’s going to take a big chunk  of my painting time.

All in all, 2014 is going to be The Year Of Getting Old Projects Finished. Then maybe I can move onto other things. My mind kicks around things like painting up some Necrons or Dark Eldar, but there’s too much to do already!

Black Templars: Project Complete!

templars_october_crusadersWhat 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…

black_templars_projectBut after I got it assembled and primed in August…

kr_multicase_03…I stalled out for a few months. Thankfully, the IC Challenge kicked my ass into gear, and now, a year and a half later, I’ve turned those boxes into this:

templars_complete_01It’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. 🙂

To Convert or Not To Convert

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.

5 Wargames I Would Play If I Had Infinite Resources

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.

4. Battletech

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.

5. Infinity

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?

What’s Currently On My Workbench

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:

wip_crusadersThey’re coming along; I have most of the base color down. Now I need to get to washes, details, and cleanup. Oh, and there’s a combi-plasma to start painting as well.

Next, my Honor Guard:

wip_honor_guardThese 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:

wip_drop_podIt’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:

wip_pathfindersIn 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:

wip_heldrakeI’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).

Warhammer 40K ramblings and other assorted geekery…