Friday, 21 October 2011
We've got two days in LA, during which the lovely A intends to hug a few cartoon characters, before picking up my brother and his girlfriend from the airport and driving to Las Vegas. We're heading there to a wedding of a highschool friend of mine, and will be there a week. There will be some pretty epic piss-ups there I'd say - it's not every day you get to have a stag do in Vegas after all! We'll be doing all of the usual things, including a token bit of gambling (I'm not a gambler), a trip out to the grand canyon, and going to a show of Cirque du Soleil. Should be fun! I'm just really looking forward to some time off work and being able to relax and blow some money without a conscience. I've been saving for quite a while for this trip so have really been skimping. It'll be a relief to just let loose. Fortunately I'll be getting paid while I'm away (this working thing rocks - paid annual leave!) and the back pay for this year's pay review will also be deposited into my bank account while I'm away. I'll be coming back more flush than when I leave! Not a bad place to start with some purchases for my wargames table eh?!
So after Las Vegas we're flying to Oaxaca for 4 days (splitting off from my brother and his girlfriend who are spending some time in Mexico City). We're doing a cooking course with a local chef and will hopefully make it out to see some of the local artisans. After that the girls are heading home and my brother and I are heading to the coast to a place called San Agustinillo on the Pacific coast. I gather it's relatively secluded and totally relaxing! Should be a nice change of pace before we get on the long flight back to New Zealand.
Anyway, back to wargaming. Not too much has been happening, though I have made a bit of progress over the last week. I've started basing my mortar platoon. I've built up the bases with a polyfilla product, glued grit on top of that and sealed the grit on with another coat of watered down PVA. Now that the PVA has dried (and when I'm back from holiday) I'll brush undercoat it with primer, apply a base coat or two of green ochre, and dry brush light flesh over the top (see Garth's photographs below for the effect of this paint scheme - I rather like it). I've got various flocks, static grasses and shrubbery to apply to finish it off.
I've also started cleaning my first Commonwealth Platoon. Sadly I didn't meet my goal of having the whole platoon primed before I leave - I've just been too busy! I have really got back into the bug over the last week and I guess the opportunity to do some more painting is something to look forward to for when I get back from my holiday.
I've made a few more purchases towards my NZ rifle company over the last few weeks. My 2nd and 3rd Commonwealth Rifle Platoons arrived, along with a pack of snipers. I've subsequently ordered and received a blister of Royal Engineers (with the intention of incorporating them with the sticky bomb figures from the commonwealth platoon to form the company pioneer section) and another pack of PIATS. I should have enough to really flesh out the infantry part of my company as well as some of the optional choices.
In other news, in a moment of weakness I went and ordered Infinity: Human Sphere while Maelstrom still had it in stock. It arrived about a week later which is pretty impressive! I haven't had the chance to look at it yet; it's now waiting for when I return from holiday, after which I'm heading straight to Wellington for a work seminar - perhaps I'll take it on the plane.
The only thing I'm waiting for now is my order from Warhammer Historical. Garth's has arrived; hopefully mine hasn't gone astray.
Anyway, I'd better go and get a bit of sleep before the long flight tomorrow. I've just returned from a dinner at a great Japanese restaurant, complete with Sake - so I've got a bit of a glow on so I probably need the sleep, and a bit of hydration!
Take care guys, cheers!
Thursday, 13 October 2011
I've gone a bit mad over the past few weeks with the 50% off sale at warhammer-historical.com, picking up copies of Trafalgar, Warmaster Ancients, Warmaster Ancient Battles and two supplements for Legends of the Old West.
I'm glad that I did.
I wrote to the people at Warhammer-Historical when they shifted to telephone only sales on the core rulebook for legends of the old west asking if I could still obtain a copy. They wrote back three days later to tell me that it was now out of print and unavailable for order. I replied with a question as to whether there was any likelihood of it being reprinted in the future, to which question I got the answer "sadly this is highly unlikely".
I surmise, then, that this sale was probably designed for the purpose of clearing out all remaining stock in anticipation for warhammer historical shutting its doors. This is only guess work on my part, mind you. It could be that they're discontinuing their support for earlier rulesets, or as I have seen suggested on various blogs and forums around the internet, as a precursor to a pdf only business model. These latter two options seem strange when you consider that warhammer historical have only recently published a number of titles. Why else would they be liquidating their stock if not in anticipation of closure? I confess that I don't know enough about publishing or retail to answer this question. Perhaps one of you might.
If this is indeed the end of warhammer historical, I'm sad. It's been around a long time; it was certainly around back when I first started wargaming back in the late 1990s to early 2000s. To me it represents a part of the company that still gets pleasure out of making games for gamers. Without warhammer historical and the specialist games, all we're left with are the cash cow core games and abominations such as dreadfleet. As far as I'm concerned, no thanks.
I do wonder what possessed GW not to make a go of their warhammer historical line. The books are quality products which they could have sold to gamers of their core games looking for something new (who would likely still consume their hobby products lines if not their miniatures), or anyone else who happened to see a book on the shelf of their FLGS and pick it up, having been sold on the impressive production values. It must have been able to make money for them. They effectively just choked the products off by only making them available on their website. I think the problem is likely to be that the products do not fit within the business model of GW's retail arm (if you'd like to pursue this discussion further, please see an excellent article on the topic on the frontline gamer blog, see my blogroll).
I also feel for the talented folk who have poured their time and energy into these products. They're clearly passionate about what they were doing, and equally clearly they wanted to share that passion with us. A pity they didn't work with another publisher willing to give their products support.
I hope that I'm wrong; if I'm right, it's a shame. In the meantime, Garth did manage to pick up a copy of LotOW! Phew!
(p.s. sorry for any formatting issues, I'm blogging from my phone in bed and it's possible that the paragraphing won't pull through.
Sunday, 9 October 2011
I've been acquiring the necessary materials for basing my mortar platoon for flames of war. This has meant purchasing various types of basing grit and flock from Waylands, as well as grabbing more mundane items such as PVA glue and Selley's "filla". Now it's just a matter of plucking up my courage and having a go at it; having not used the filla material before I'm a wee bit nervous about how easy it will be to apply and fearful about ruining the miniatures. Probably nothing to worry about!
I made some progress with my read-through of Waterloo over the weekend (though not much). So far I'm finding it very easy to follow. It's got enough of the Warhammer mechanics to make it familiar while at the same time being very reflective of the period. Definitely a bit less of a mouthful than General de Brigade to begin with, and I look forward to trying the rules out. I'll post some more detailed thoughts when I've finished my read through; though my comments won't be of much value in respect of its worth as a ruleset given my relative inexperience!
The courier man has been busy on my behalf over the last two weeks. The Flames of War supplement "Hellfire and Back" for early-mid war Africa/Mediterranean has arrived, and I must say I'm very impressed with the quality of the book. It is beautifully hard bound and not much smaller than the Flames of War core rulebook, which is a bit of a beast in itself. I haven't really taken too much time to look into it yet as it won't be providing the list for my first Flames of War army (I'm going late war Cassino for that). I think the book will provide the list for my second army though - either an adaption of my late war kiwis into early war Div Cav, or a British Armoured Squadron for the desert.
The first of the Commonwealth Infantry platoons I ordered from Wayland Games has arrived, with two more and a sniper blister still on the way. I haven't done anything more than unpack them and arrange them into their stands. I'm very happy with the sculpts; they're very dynamic and characterful, and I'm glad that I decided to go with them over the late war Rifle Company miniatures. I've been playing around a lot with the list on Easyarmy.com, and I'm just not sure what else I'm going to take. This is the difficulty in not having played any games yet (well, no proper games) and not having a firm idea as to the relative strengths of different units. At the moment I'm thinking of keeping things fairly balanced, with some mortars, HMGs, AT guns, artillery, recon (armoured cars or carriers - I'm quite enamoured of the Staghound) and an Armoured Platoon of Shermans. I'm a bit worried that this is spreading things a bit thin though. I think I'll get this army together, run it, and then make changes accordingly. That way I'll have the full range of options right from the get go and so will have plenty of flexibility.
My order of Infinity from Maelstrom Games has also finally arrived! It appears that the parcel was missent to Vancouver. Not sure how Vancouver could have been confused with the Maori name of my home town or with New Zealand; I'm just glad it got here! It'd taken quite some time for the items to get back in stock with Maelstrom, and when they shipped Garth's order of Nomads shipped at the same time. His arrived 2-3 weeks ago, and I've been watching the post anxiously ever since. I've taken a look at the miniatures but little else. Once again I'm impressed with the level of detail and the dynamic poses of the miniatures "in the flesh". I don't think I'll get to painting these in a hurry as I'm trying to prioritise my Flames of War so that I've got something on the table to game with. The temptation might get me over the summer though, we'll see. I've had a private message from a kiwi on the Infinity Community Forums about having Infinity at the next Battlecry. Sadly I'm unlikely to be in the position to play in time for the tournament, but I'd very much like to attend just to take a look at Infinity in action as well as seeing the other games that people play. I've had very little exposure to other gamers yet other than Garth given where I live, so I'd definitely like to take the opportunity to "get out".
I've also been caught out by a 50% off sale at the Warhammer-Historical website! The sale popped up just after I'd bought the Waterloo book for $80.00. Typical! I couldn't really resist though, and picked up Trafalgar, Warmaster Ancients and Warmaster Ancient Battles all for half price. Garth picked up copies of Waterloo and Legends of the Old West (he's since gone and bought some Black Scorpion miniatures - they look cool!). I bought Trafalgar because I'm a sucker for the period and because Garth already has a copy. We're pretty keen to give the game a go in the future, though it will be a while before it makes it's way to the top of our priority list for miniatures. I bought Warmaster Ancients because I'm in love with half a hundred historical periods and I really doubt my ability and attention span as far as painting them all in 28mm goes! Hopefully at some stage in the future Garth and I will be able to branch out into some 6-10mm wargaming. I'd love to do War of the Roses to begin with!
Garth is looking at Legends of the Old West as a campaign skirmish game to replace his old love Mordheim. We played a lot of the game in high school; sadly we let all of our miniatures and the original terrain go. I remember enjoying the system a lot, though we did think that there were some limitations to the rules. I like the idea of getting back into this kind of "progressive campaign" skirmish gaming, though. To this end I went back to the Warhammer-Historical store a few days later to consider purchasing the rules; sadly they were only taking phone orders for them as they'd largely sold out. Oh well. I'm not sure I needed to buy another rule book - I've comprehensively failed in my resolution not to purchase any more!
So what else is on the cards? No more miniature purchases, for a start! Garth and I are planning on picking up a bit of terrain for Flames of War when I get back from holiday in mid-November. I should come home with plenty of change, so I'm going to divert a wee bit of it towards a gaming mat (I'm thinking from theterrainguy.com) and some pre-made terrain. That will give us the foundation of the board, and we can work on making anything else we need from there. Given my slackness with painting over the last 2-3 weeks (I've just been exhausted after work and weekends have been busy) I've decided to set myself a realistic goal for the two weeks before I go away. I'm going to base my mortar platoon and have them finished, as well as clean and prime my Commonwealth Platoon ready for painting when I get back. This is a little bit of work, but shouldn't get in the way of my trip preparations.
Speaking of priming, and as a closing note, I popped into one of Games Workshop's Auckland mall stores a few weekends ago to pick up a spray can of black primer (unfortunately no one will ship these to me, and I don't often get the chance to go wargames shopping in person). While the lovely A stood outside and stared in horror, I negotiated my way through the melee and managed to reach the counter. I sympathise with A, I really can't stand those stores and couldn't even when I used to play Warhammer/40k. I think it's something to do with the concentrated teenage enthusiasm. Anyway, when I was going through the motions of paying $30 for a can of black primer (when did things get this expensive?) I had a yarn to the GW staffer and he was a really nice guy. We talked about the Waterloo book that had just been released (I think I sold it to him, haha!) as well as a wee chat about Warhammer-Historical's Kampfgruppe Normandy rules (he tried to sell these to me as an alternative to Flames of War for the WWII period - failed). It goes to show that while I'm not at all a fan of the company, they do employ some nice people!
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Being on 2 weeks leave (and the current crappy weather!) should have given me ample opportunity to get a serious amount of painting in. Trouble is it hasn't.
I find it absolutely astounding how much time I have been able to waste by eating copious amounts of toast and watching far, far too much Oprah and mid-day Television...
So, in the first week of my break I have only managed to get 2 Stukas completed out of the goal I set my self for the first week of 8 stands of infantry, 3 stukas and priming all my Tiger tanks.
I suppose I can console myself with the fact that I do have 4 stands of infantry that just need to be based.
Here are my completed Stukas.
I'm quiet liking how they turned out at the moment. I was a bit apprehensive of the colour scheme I had set out on, but it certainly grew on me while painting. There are a few things I would do better next time around. Perhaps some better research into making them look more historically accurate and I have made a few small mistakes on the decals but I can live with that.
Another thing that needs to be worked on is finding a better place to take photos of the miniatures...
Please feel free to comment, suggest and criticise!
Apart from that it has been a fairly exciting week in which I have spent large sums of money on buying Rulebooks and Boardgames!
Warhammer Historicals is currently having 50% off all their historical gaming rulebooks!! If you have been weighing up whether to purchase any of these products now is your chance! The average price of one of their books with the 50% off applied is about NZ$20, with shipping to New Zealand at a flatrate of around NZ$12.
Between Mike and I we now probably have their entire collection (whether or not we utilize them is another matter).
I'm unsure of how long this promotion lasts but I kind of gather it will be a very limited time and a once in a blue moon opportunity.
The other thing I am excited about is my Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game from Fantasy Flight has arrived and I hope to be giving it a go sometime this weekend. From the reviews I have been reading it looks to be a fun game!