Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Death Company Marine

Here's the first member of my Death Company, Brother Elemiah.
It's hard to tell, but I tried to give him a very angsty, sleepless complexion. The pale skin didn't come out quite as starkly pale as I planned. For his eyes I wanted to make them look bloodshot with dark circles under them, so after I painted most of the face, I gave both eye-sockets a wash of red gore, which I think came out good, but doesn't show up well in the photo.
I still need to flock his base, so that part's not quite done yet.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I'm not a competitive player. That is to say, I don't play in tournaments and I don't pore obsessively over my army list and tweak it to get the most killing power out of it.

Whenever a new codex comes out, you hear the same complaints on the forums and some blogs, over and over again. Things like "codex creep", "OP" (over-powered), "nerfs", "buffs", etc. Whine whine whine. It's pathetic.

Some people may thrive on the whining. They live for it. Or perhaps I'm being too cynical and there are people who look at new challenges constructively and as an opportunity for growth. Yeah, right. The whiners are everywhere.

With such a wide diversity of 40k armies and their playstyles, it is a monumental, perhaps impossible task to make 40k into a truly balanced game. The only reason to even try to do this is to promote competitive play. Unbalanced armies/rules are probably the single most complained about facet of the game. This is a staple of the gaming industry in general, especially PC and console games. The most popular form of play (multiplayer or competitive play) is also the most complained about, for being unfair or unbalanced in some way.

Guess what? Life is unfair.

And that includes war.

History is replete with more wars and conflicts than bear mentioning. But one thing you'll never find is a war or a battle in which both sides were evenly matched. Always, always one side or the other will have an advantage in numbers, quality of troops, terrain, etc. But, notably, the side with the initial advantage is by no means the certain victor. In so many battles, a random event like the weather, hard fighting by the common soldier, or perhaps even good generalship can be the deciding factor.

No real world general ever gets to pick the composition of his force. He has to make do with what he has. That is a challenge in generalship. It may sound unfair to take your green army into battle against a better equipped foe twice your size, but then, that's what makes a general a military commander and not a wimpy tabletop gamer.
What gamers see when they look in the mirror.
The games I find more interesting are the ones in which things are deliberately stacked against one player, and seeing how he deals with it. When the going gets tough, a player can either suck it up and stick it out, or whine and complain. The former are the men, the latter are the boys. (or alternatively, the women and the girls)

Also, real world generals never have the whole picture.  Real world generals don't get to peek at the contents of the enemy's army list. They get intelligence reports, and those reports are usually incomplete or even flat out wrong.

Here's a idea for a different way to play the game.

You pick your general, since that's represents you on the battlefield. Your opponent does the same.

Get a GM for your game (The GM doesn't have to be a referee, but rather someone to help you prepare the battle).  Pick someone you and your opponent can agree on, someone with a modicum of intelligence, knowledge of military history, and preferably an imagination.  The GM comes up with a narrative/scenario, and makes the two army lists. There's no restriction on the size or composition of either army--the GM should just pick something that fits the narrative. Force Org charts and points values should be guidelines, not rules.

If you get the "weaker" army, don't complain. The GM is giving you a chance to shine. Instead of whining, you can thank the Blood God for giving you this opportunity to give him more skulls for his throne. Maybe if you win he'll make you a daemon prince. One can always hope.

Depending on the scenario the GM has devised, he may provide you with an intelligence report about the opposing army. The information should be vague, incomplete, and perhaps even wrong in the details.

The GM gives each army an objective, and depending on the scenario devised, this does not necessarily have to be revealed to the opposition.  The objectives need not be mutually exclusive.  (e.g., one side might be attempting to get the secret plans off the table, while the other side merely wants to kill the opposing general)

Let the battle begin!

If you're on the weaker side, blame the impossible odds you have to face.  And if you win, the reason is obviously your generalship so give yourself all the credit.  That's what real generals do!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brazen Claws Command Group Part 3

The second member of my Brazen Claws Command Group is completed. He is the 4th Company Captain, the Master of the Fleet. His chest eagle and cloak are indicative of his company affiliation. I'm not too sure of his facial expression, however, as I think his eyes and eyebrows give him a look of uncertainty...almost fear. Oh well...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Brazen Claw Command Group Part 2

Here's the first member of my Brazen Claw Command Group completed. An old school terminator librarian. I've had this guy, well, forever, so it's about time he gets a paint job and into the field.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Unexpected Heroes

This post by Admiral Drax got me thinking about the Imperial Guard.

Like all armies out there, the Imperial Guard have their basic troopers with the "base" stat line for the army, some elite troops with slightly better stat lines, and "heroes" with the highest stat lines.  There's always been something about that that didn't seem right to me with respect to the Imperial Guard.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Grey Knights

(Note: All these pictures are taken either from GW's website or from a mass e-mailing)

I've been awaiting the arrival of the Grey Knights with anticipation.  Although I'm not really in a position to start up yet another army right now, I'd been looking forward to seeing what the new models were going to look like.  I had heard rumors that the new Dreadknight was "hideous", but it was hard to tell from the one blurry image we got.  Then I got the standard press release e-mail from GW.
My initial response to this
Nothing really to write home about here, either.
Or here.  Although I have to stay this obsession with really wide stances for terminators lately to make them seem bigger is bordering on ridiculous.  These guys are in serious danger of groin pulls...

But I wanted to see a little more detail so I went to check out GW's website.
This is a small image, but I like the sword on the Dreadknight a heck of a lot better than the hammer.  And since the model's plastic, that's a big plus, so I'm already imagining all sorts of conversion work I could do on this guy to give him a really dynamic pose.
The Grey Knights themselves are pretty cool, and I like all the options that are available.  The move to plastic is a good one.
Same goes for the terminators...
...which can get pretty complex.
I'm not all that impressed with Lord Kaldor Draigo though.  I mean, the model has tons of great detail--the shield is amazing, but...  I just think that in a horde of baroque Grey Knights, this guy just isn't going to stick out all that much.

In the end, I'm pretty impressed with the new offerings--I'm really tempted to pick up the Dreadknight at some point.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brazen Claw Command Group Part 1

I'm getting very close to finishing my Brazen Claws, so I figured I'd post progress on them as I go.

This model is a conversion of a Terminator Captain which will serve as my Chapter Master. The original model had a storm bolter and power sword, I think it's only fitting that the Chapter Master of the Brazen Claws be armed with Lightning Claws...

Sawed off parts of the plastic lightning claws and parts of the metal arms of the mini.

Supergluing the lightning claws in place was pretty easy--now I just need to fill in the gaps with green stuff.