Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Old Rules

Unless you're one of those players who buys a new codex and army, plays it in tournaments, then sells everything on ebay as soon as the next codex/army comes out, you probably have multiple editions of GW rulebooks and codices on your shelf.  (If you're a person who plays mostly in hobby stores or in tournaments against strangers, then this post doesn't apply to you)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Hated Fluff

Any time a new codex comes out, the Interwebs explode with everyone hating on the new fluff.  Beloved history and background are retconned out of existence, warped beyond recognition, or generally trampled upon.  Authors (I'm talking about you, Mat Ward) with no concept of how their new vision of the 40k Universe RUINS EVERYTHING.  I hate it as much as everyone else.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Balrog: Part 4

Primed. I'm considering painting the flames using the technique I've never tried before. This worries me a little bit, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Force Protection

It's taken as a given that when you play a game of 40k, during a game you're going to lose a large portion of your army.  Maybe all of it if you lose.  Watching your opponent remove his models from the table is part of what makes the game fun!  The mental image you have of two armies of heroes (or evil bad guys) clashing in a desperate struggle in which only the few survive makes the game feel epic.  Gamers plan battle strategies around their suicide units.  They take it for granted that their elite unit will deep strike into the middle of the enemy lines, "pop a Land Raider", and then die.  I wonder how the troopers would feel if their commanders told them that it's his intention from the get-go that their purpose is to die.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Flames of on FIRE!

Flames of War is taking over the gaming scene!  I predict that in five years, everyone will be playing Flames of War, and if in a gaming crowd you mention Games Workshop, you'll be met with a bunch of blank stares.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lexicanium Calistarius

This guy was a pain in the butt.  I tried to paint him similar to the way he was painted in the rulebook.  Most of it wasn't too hard, but trying to get the force axe to look right was a trial.  With time I think I have gotten better at using layering as a technique, but blending/feathering continues to elude me.  I tried painting that axe over and over again, and it got to the point that I had to sand the layers of paint off the blade and start over...twice.  Clearly I need much more practice with it.  Perhaps I needed to try it first on a larger surface.  I'm still not entirely happy with it, but I'll have to chalk it up to experience...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One Shot, One Kill

In the real world, snipers have repeatedly been called "the deadliest weapon on the battlefield." Snipers have the element of surprise, can kill at very long ranges, are hard to deal with, and thus instill terror in the enemy. (As an aside I will ignore their other, arguably more important, employment as battlefield observers) If snipers are so deadly in the real world, why are they so ineffective in the game of 40k?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Changing Face of the Guard

Here is an old IG picture, from White Dwarf 109, from 1989.  It shows a Necromundan regiment, marching into battle against the forces of chaos.  It's an image that has stuck with me for a long time--these guys are marching in ordered ranks, carrying their lasguns at right shoulder shift arms, in the midst of battle.  It is reminiscent of Napoleonic warfare, or perhaps the American Civil War.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brother Claudio

Brother Claudio rounds out my terminators except for Lexicanium Calistarius, who is next.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Balrog: Part 2

Finished the assembly of the miniatures themselves, next step is to fill in all the joins with green stuff. Did some looking for a base to mount them on, and wasn't all that happy with what was available. I'll be looking for something more suitable at the hobby store later this week if I can make it down there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sergeant Gideon

And Sergeant Gideon finishes up the second squad.  Now it's off to paint up Librarian Calistarius.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The War against Doctrine

The Codex Astartes is the holy tome written by Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman.  It defines the organization and tactical doctrine of the Adeptus Astartes and is followed by many, if not a majority, of Space Marine Chapters.

Guilliman is undisputedly one of the greatest military minds in history, rivaling if not surpassing all of the other Primarchs.  The Codex Astartes is considered one of Guilliman's most influential works. 

Yet there is a schizophrenia in the 40k universe...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Balrog: Part 1

I had originally posted this on my defunct fantasy blog.  Since I'm getting back into finishing this project, I figured I'd post my updates here instead, but that means a repost or two until I catch up to where I left off...

I received my first miniatures commission recently. Well, sort of. It's more a favor for a friend, who promised to do it for another friend, but doesn't have the time (she has a good excuse--she's leaving for the Peace Corps soon). Lest you think I'm doing this solely out of the kindness of my heart, since my friend will be out of country for a few years, she kindly sent me all of her paints, plus some stray miniatures that she's had in storage.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brother Valencio

Brother Valencio, the youngest of the marines in Space Hulk.  Like many youths, he seems to like to decorate himself a lot.

Monday, November 14, 2011


It seems like these days, the focus of gaming is more on making the army list rather than playing the game.  Army list posts on blogs and forums are extremely common.  You hear about "unbeatable" army lists with [insert awesome weapon of the day] spam.  Much (if not most) of the excitement generated by a new codex is determined by the rules/units available, and what units players can get to increase the power of their army list.  In order to succeed at a a tournament, it's a given that if you don't have a "competitive" army list, you needn't bother playing. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

I must be patient...

With all the hype right now it's hard to not get excited about the Necrons.  The models are awesome and some of their new powers seem very scary.  It makes me want to drop everything and start yet another army... 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brother Omnio

And here we have Brother Omnio, another one of the easier Space Hulk Terminators to paint.

Monday, November 7, 2011


In the design of any new model or miniature, one of the key things designers have to come to grips with is keeping the "theme" of the army intact with continuity of design. That is, each new miniature must fit, style-wise, with the rest of the army.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Warhammer Quest: What if?

What if Warhammer Quest turned out to be the next game GW publishes in its line of "one time release board games"?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Brother Scipio

Compared to some of the other marines in the Space Hulk group, Brother Scipio is one of the simplest to paint. But don't let that fool you into thinking he's not a badass. In the last Space Hulk game I played with him, he scored 18 kills.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween and GW Customer Service does it again...

So with Halloween approaching I decided to paint something other than my Space Hulk miniatures.  My Vampire Counts army quickly came to mind, and I decided on a pair of miniatures to paint, a Tomb Banshee and the Winged Vampire Lord.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tau Speculations and Wishlist

The latest rumors are that Tau Empire will receive an update in Q1-2 2012, so as a Tau player I'm eager to see what might be in the pipeline...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brother Leon

With Brother Leon I attempted to follow the technique that I saw on this post on From the Warp.  I can't say that I was entirely successful. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Brother Goriel

Brother Goriel finishes Squad Lorenzo, so now I can start work on Squad Gideon. First up: Brother Leon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Codex Creep

A recent post on Bell of Lost Souls got me thinking about this.  Actually I've been thinking about it for long while, but the BoLS post inspired me to finally write about it.

Give people something they don't need, and they will be temporarily, mildly happy.  If you then take it away from them, the rage will erupt in a paroxysmal conflagration.  The fact that it was unnecessary to give it to them in the first place is irrelevant.  They had it, they owned it, it rightfully belongs to them, and may anyone who would dare take it away be damned to burn in a fiery hell for all eternity.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sergeant Lorenzo

Next guy finished is Sergeant Lorenzo.  I tried really hard to blend the inside of his skirt, trying to go for a brown out to a cream-white color, but I didn't quite succeed.  The whole "blending" technique continues to elude me, I guess. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Since GW released Space Hulk and now Dreadfleet, I've started going through my miniatures with an eye to preserving them.  For a while now, when I've completed painting some miniatures, I've given them a coat of matte varnish to protect them.  The more I do it, the more I begin to see the necessity of doing it--if I want my miniatures to last beyond the next codex release.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brother Zael

I did some surgery on my digital camera, and am pleased to see that the surgery was successful.  As such, I can began to catch up in my documentation of recently completed miniatures.  Next up is Brother Zael from Space Hulk.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dreadfleet: Opening the Treasure Chest

Ahoy!  My copy of Dreadfleet arrived in the mail today, so I thought I would dive in and check out the contents.  I apologize for the quality of the pictures--my normal camera is still broken so I was forced to use a backup camera.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


 There are some updates I could be making, by my camera is on the fritz (dust on the sensor, which makes all the pictures look horrible). I was going to take a picture of the offending camera as proof see the problem. So I put up a stock photo instead.

In the meantime, I'm still around, and I'm working on some updates behind the scenes. When I can include some pictures to make them more interesting, I'll put them up.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Brother Deino...Gah!

It took me more than a year to get back to painting my Space Hulk minis, but after painting Brother Noctis and a Genestealer, now I'm onto Brother Deino. The picture isn't so great, but things came out pretty well, I think, until...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Battle Report from the past...40k

Here's another battle report from the past, this one the first that I know of that is for Warhammer 40k.  There were a few other battle reports, mainly Warhammer, and at least one for Adeptus Mechanicus, but this one is 40k, pitting Andy Chambers' Blood Angels against Jervis Johnson's Alaitoc Eldar.  This battle report appeared in White Dwarf 141, from September 1991.  Just looking at the miniatures and how the game was played, I think it's very interesting to see what has changed and what has not. (Clicking on the pictures will make them large enough to read)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Battle Report from the Past...

While doing some digging around I came across this: the first Battle Report that I know of in White Dwarf magazine. At least, the first one in my collection, which goes back to issue #98. This one, titled "24 Hours at Carik Mound", which appeared in issue #107, recounts a 24 hour Warhammer 3rd Edition battle fought by a gaming club that included some GW staff members. Battle Reports become one of the most popular features in White Dwarf. (by issue 140 or so, they become a regular feature) 

I've scanned the article in its entirety below. (Seeing as the article is some 23 years old, I'm hoping GW won't mind all that much).  As you can see, Battle Reports have come a long way in the intervening decades.  At the very least it's an interesting read to see how much things have changed since then.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Commandos and Mercenaries

I figured it was about time to do a shout out to a friend of mine: Jack Badelaire.

Jack and I have been gaming together for some 13 years now, when we met at Boston University. For a while we played tabletop RPGs in our gaming group, but I had been a 40k gamer long before I met him. It took some cajolery to convince him to give 40k a try, but the imagery of the Necrons got him hooked. Now he has a good-sized Necron army, a large Waaagh! of Orks, and has recently started a Space Wolves army. Over the years his forces have featured in many if not most of my battle reports.

Jack's blog, the Post-Modern Pulps Blog, deals with action/adventure novels, movies and television series--all things that have in part inspired the over-the-top action-packed adventure that is found in the Warhammer 40k universe.

Jack has made for himself a network of contacts in the blogosphere with other fans of the genre, and even several authors. With the help of several like-minded collaborators, he has published the first issue in a what promises to be an interesting eJournal called Hatchet Force Journal.

Among other things it consists of several movie and book reviews, an interview with action/adventure novelist Mack Maloney (author of the Wingman and The Pirate Hunters series), and the essay The Children of Vietnam by Jack himself.

The eJournal is $0.99--pocket change, really. So if you're into the action/adventure genre I encourage you to check it out.

The Journal isn't the only thing he's been working on. Jack's first novel, Commando: Operation Arrowhead, will be released as an eBook for the Kindle in the coming months:
This ebook is the first in a planned series about British Commando operations during World War II. This first installment introduces us to Tommy Lynch, a veteran of the evacuation at Dunkirk, and his first mission as a Commando in Nazi-occupied France.

Jack's also hard at work on another novel, Killer Instincts, which is a revenge thriller set in 2001. It is currently in the editing phase and stands a good chance of being released by the end of the year.
Killer Instincts is about young William, a preppy college student whose family is wiped out by mafiosi. He is introduced by his Vietnam vet uncle to the shadowy Richard, an eccentric mercenary who brings William's killer instincts to the fore, preparing him to exact a very personal revenge.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where the heck have I been?

I've been out of the blogging loop for several months, but not without good reason. Earlier in the year my family had some health problems, and while we've gotten past them, it took up a lot of my time.

Second, and this is good news, I got to welcome my son into the world on July 5.
Both Mom and baby are doing great.

Since I now have two children...
...finding time to paint miniatures is even harder to come by.

Coupled with that, most of my free time over the past several months has been spent writing. Last year I discovered that Black Library accepts open submissions for novels and short stories, but only during a window from May 1 to July 31. See their FAQ. Anyway, I've had a bunch of ideas about 40k stories (who hasn't?), and decided to give it a try. So I've submitted proposals for two novels and one short story. If one of them is accepted, I'll hear in the next two months. If not, I won't hear anything at all. I have few illusions that one of my submissions will be accepted, but the fastest way to get rejected is not to submit anything at all. So here's hoping that the powers that be at Black Library like what I wrote...

Perhaps during the waiting period I can get back into painting. Sitting idle while waiting would be a mistake... As for actually gaming and fighting any battles...that's even harder.

My usual gaming opponent and good friend of mine, Jack Badelaire, has also been busy this year writing as well. Although he's a fan of Black Library's novels, he's going independent. Jack is very much into post-modern pulp fiction--that is, men's action/adventure novels, running the gamut from WWII commando stories to 70s and 80s pulp thrillers (check out his blog for more details). He's recently published the first issue of an e-journal called Hatchet Force Journal, which includes many articles on the subject including an interview with a prominent author in the field. It's a mere $0.99, so check it out.

Jack's also working on a pair of novels--one is a modern revenge thriller, the second is the first in a series of WWII novels based on British Commando raids in Europe. Both of these should be released on in the next few months.

* * *

Despite all these things taking up my time, I have a bunch of miniatures queued up on a shelf. Every time I walk past them I feel guilty. Sooner or later I'll find a few hours of free time, and I'll start painting. Someday I might even be able to get back into gaming...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


First I wanted to say thanks to suneokun over at Pathfinder for nominating my blog with the "Stylish Blog Award."

I apologize that I haven't been posted in a while--real life has taken over in a major way. Suffice it to say that my family has experienced some serious health problems over the past few months, and while everything is ok, the road to recovery can be a long one. As such I have had very little time to devote to the hobby recently.

Still, it is good to see that the blogosphere is moving along just fine, and when I've been able I've been reading the various blogs with interest. It's good to have a community of bloggers out there that are supportive of each other and our mutual interests.

It's been somewhat depressing to see that it's been well over a year now since I've been able to put up a battle report. I can't promise when the next one will go up, but it certainly isn't my intention to end my reporting now. But doing a report at this point is an ambitious undertaking, so I'll have to take what I can get and post what I can when I can. Until then, thanks for visiting.

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.