Monday 29 October 2012

Why win when you could have a chainsaw?

Work-life balance, to use the kind of neologism that makes certain sectors of society extremely angry, is very important. If you spend all of your time at work dealing with pitiful budgets, unrealistic expectations, arbitrary deadlines and a constant need to be seen to be working as much as actually getting the work done, it's important to be able to relax and do something different in your free time.

In that spirit, here's a blog post about my latest hobby project, so that I can show you all that I've been working on a project that I don't have much money for, unreasonably believe I can make brilliant, and will really need to finish by the end of the year.

January is Blood Bowl season at Wargamers FC, and I wanted to use a new team after years of only humans or chaos to pick from. Since I did fairly well with chaos (supposedly a harder team to use) last time, I decided to make things even harder for myself and go with goblins for the next season. Since I've been saying I was going to do this since the end of the last season, Kieron was kind enough to give me two trolls, so I just needed to get the other positions.

I've built the team from a goblin regiment box, which was easy enough to do. Since one problem that I kept having with my other teams was an inability to buy extra players due to a lack of models, I've made every model that could possibly be a part of the team (so 16 basic goblins, 4 secret weapons, and 2 trolls).

They'll just need painting before January now...

Apologies for the terrible photos below by the way - they were all taken very quickly on my phone. I'll sort out using the proper camera soon. Probably.

A couple of trolls, useful for flinging goblins at the opposition (or occasionally at the end zone if it looks like there might be a chance to score).

A couple of goblins landing badly from being flung!

The "secret" weapons. The pogoer and looney with chainsaw are "proper" blood bowl models, the fanatic is a WFB fanatic and the bombardier is a plastic gobbo with a hand swap and bomb added.

The rest! I have 16 of these, so there should be plenty of spares to cope with the inevitable injuries...

Friday 26 October 2012

Two years of this nonsense!

I've just noticed that my very first post on this blog was two years ago today!

Just think of what I could have achieved if I'd put the time I've spent writing this gibberish to some sort of worthwhile use.

Still, I think I've come up with some reasonable painting during that time. Some of my favourites have been...

My Republican Romans - I really must play some Impetus again, I like that army! I especially enjoyed putting together the Roman baggage train for them, and I'd like to do some more diorama-style pieces in future.

The Saxons that I painted for Triples 2011 were also fun, and I was happy with how the colour scheme for the bases helped during games of Saga, so I followed on the same scheme for my Normans (although I still need to paint a mount for Alan).

I painted a set of SWAT and criminals for Flashbang, my own set of close-quarters rules which I really do intend to finish and do something with. I also put together some really nice Sarissa buildings for this, which see a lot of action in VBCW as well.

Speaking of VBCW I built a couple of wacky vehicles for that.

In fact the conversions, even though I don't do that many of them, are probably my favourite projects - for example the Steam Powered War Altar which may very well only have seen the table once but is still among my favourite things I've done.

The nice thing about maintaining this blog is that it encourages me to try to make something worthwhile out of what I paint, and to get things finished so I can blog about them. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that I normally spend the days after posting rocking back and forth, hitting refresh over and over while drinking alone constantly checking for comments, as it's other people's feedback on the things I post that makes me want to get more up. So thanks everyone that's said things on here, especially the two or three that were complimentary!

See you in another two years...

Thursday 25 October 2012

I found time between nappy changes to do some painting

It's a busy life, being a dad, as I'm sure many of the adoring millions who read this blog must already know. 

On the one hand you have to go back to work all too soon after the little bundle of joy arrives, and on the other you spend most of your free time when you're not at work either looking after your offspring or catching up on some of the sleep you've missed. 

Family members are drawn to the new arrival like moths to a flame, and your doting partner doesn't get much time to do anything other than mothering during the day so there's always housework to help out with when you get home.

Even if you didn't have to do all this, having your own child around is fascinating and a lot of fun, and you can happily waste hours playing with them and seeing what faces they're going to pull, or things they're going to be sick on, next.

This all makes finding time for painting a bit tricky, but I have persevered, and by not paying enough attention to my daughter waiting until my daughter is asleep, I've managed to achieve some results - the M3 halftracks for my US Armored Rifle platoon for Flames of War!

The photo isn't great unfortunately, but hopefully you can make out that I've used the same style of painting as for my other recent US armour models - a base coat with two layers of highlight, trying not to go too overboard with it and make the highlights unrealistic. I've also left off the transfers for now, and I'm going to stick to the plan of doing these all in one go later.

After some deliberation I decided that my "purple heart boxes" would have the mid-war style mounts for the machine guns, instead of the pulpit mount which appears in late-war. I've reasoned to myself that there must still have been some older unmodified half tracks in service in the later war, and it makes more sense to use mid-war models for late-war than the other way around!

Obviously I now need to paint the infantry for this platoon too. That should probably be my next target (the club FoW campaign starts next week after all), but in fine wargamer's style I've been distracted by something new, so details of that will follow...

Monday 22 October 2012

Very British Civil Warpath

Very little of the old paintbrushes and superglue used for this one unfortunately, but at least I've done something hobby related that can be blogged about for once.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I've been playing some games of the Warpath v2 beta recently. This is Mantic's sci-fi skirmish game, which is apparently going to be ready for release soon as a full, non-beta version. It's somewhat simpler than 40k and has a nice mechanic for activating units that adds some brinksmanship to turns.

I've also been playing games set in the Very British Civil War, the alternate history setting described in the books from Solway Crafts and Miniatures. In case you don't know, this "what-if" setting assumes an unpleasant outcome to the abdication crisis in 1938 and has a fascist government of Britain fighting a very splintered war across the whole country. It's presented in a very light-hearted style and the emphasis is on over the top cobbled together forces, vehicles and weapons, and can be a lot of fun.

We had been using 40k rules for our games, which worked quite well, but I wanted to try something different and so I have created Very British Civil Warpath - army lists and special rules for VBCW games using the Warpath rules!

Kieron and I played our first test game of this last night and it seemed go well (despite ending in an extremely bloody stalemate).

The simplicity of the Warpath army lists meant that I was even able to come up with (hopefully) sensible points values and options for different units, so it's a system which we can use for some reasonably balanced games and as the basis for our campaign.

Something that I was very keen to include was a method for representing shortages of fuel and ammo - in most cases the weapons and vehicles being used have been scrounged or bodged together so it makes sense to me that they can't be entirely relied upon. I've come up with what I think is a fairly simple mechanic for this, which will require a few tokens to be used to keep track of things but can make for very uncertain times for the commanders.

I've also tried to do something sensible with cavalry and give them the ability to mount and dismount during the game, so that they aren't caught in the trap of trying to behave like napoleonic cavalry against opponents with machine guns.

Finally I came up with some rules that allow vehicles to be upgraded fairly simply, so I think you can cover most things with the options there.

There are still more things to add to it in future but I think it works as is, but I need to test it some more. Any offers of help would be gratefully received...