Monday, 30 January 2017

Nothing Better To Do?

So something came to my attention today...

So I decided to write to GW. Below is the email I sent. If anyone else wishes to copy and send it, you are more than welcome to, I shall update the blog once I get a response.

Dear GW,

I have just seen something doing the rounds on fb, and have no idea if this is true, but it seems to be of a level of stupidity that you could not make it up, therefore I am inclined to believe it - apparently PETA have asked you to stop creating models that wear fur.

Now their argument goes that these models are supposed to represent great warriors, and there is no skill in wearing fur. And true, in today's world, there isn't much skill. But last I checked, Leman Russ was not wearing the pelt of a rabbit, but something a tad more challenging. I might also point out that applying 21st century western morality to a dystopian future society that regularly burns witches, let's say there are probably bigger concerns than animal welfare.

Anyway, I wanted to write for fear that if the only voices heard on this issue are the misguided bleatings of PETA members, it could, a long shot, be heard and acted on, however unlikely. Please do not follow their request. It makes little to no difference to me if a model wears fur or not, I just don't want a precedent set. Otherwise the floodgates will open, and the final book in the Horus heresy series will be somewhat anti-climatic "the emperor and Horus engage in a dual because the CND and Greenpeace objected to our original storylines treatment of planet earth. Oh, and sanguinius survives the heresy... Thanks RSPB!"

In summary, please treat the letter from peta with the respect and seriousness it deserves... Actually no that's a little cruel. Just bin the letter, let your staff use Andrex.

Ian Connolly

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Catch 9: Preparing Phase Two

So over the past week I've not done much in the way of painting, as Phase One of Catch is complete, however I have made preparations for Phase Two by making the models I plan to paint. Whilst I was in a converting mood though, I also converted the Battlewagon I plan to paint in phase three... as the most impressive of the lot, I shall start with him.

Meet Deffrolla. That's the name of the beastie that pulls the wagon. He also counts as a deffrolla. I don't normally bother to put those on battlewagons any more, but I felt referring to this bad boy as a mere ram just didn't quite cut it...

Here are the accelerator and the brake... in essence, poke it to make it go faster, and if you want deffrolla to stop, pull hard on the chain that is connected to his more tea vicar?

I picked up an ork driver online, I plan to put him at the back with absolutely no connection between him and deffrolla whatsoever... he will steer on faith, the way most ork tek works...

I then have two truks... I plan to paint these in different lizard skin colours, but one will have a reddish hue, and therefore be faster.

I hadn't planned the points to give them wreckin balls, but they could certainly have them if I wanted to, even in a wysiwyg environment.

I also made my meganobz with killsaws. I didn't want power klaws as I avoided anything going into my army that had the word "power" in the title. The killsaws, despite basically being the same thing, aren't called power killsaws... therefore I can get away with this. I tried to make the weapons look like massive old fashioned lumberjack saws to a certain degree.

I won't be showing off Fred just yet, but suffice to say I have modelled him with a comically huge axe that would look ridiculous even in a normal ork army (orks normally allowing a greater degree of comic flexibility, but even then there are limits) however given what he'll be surrounded by, I think he'll be fine. But I want to paint him before he makes his entrance.

Finally, tiring of doing an ork army, I have started to do an ork navy... I have put together Kaptin Badruk and some pirate theme grots I found, as I plan to go to a doubles event with a friend this summer. He is going to be doing a ninja style force using the cult ambush rules from genestealer cult (the rule mechanic fits ninjas tremendously) whilst I shall be using badruk and flashgitz to make an orky pirate force. I have been assembling pieces and conversion material for this, but haven't made a proper start yet, but soon ebay and various suppliers shall deliver and I can make a stat on this side project. Wanting to get more use out of this small force, I have also entered Double Trouble run by Alex of From the Fang. My friend isn't yet sure if he can make that event too, they are only a week apart and real life does intrude (personally I'm taking two weeks off work and using it to add interest to my holiday!) but as the format of that event means there'd no guarantee we'd face each other and it'd be one game at most anyway, well I guess it doesn't matter too much. I skipped Double Trouble last year as I didn't want to make a small force and then barely see my buddy... now however I am merely getting a second use out of a force I'm building anyway, so I've talked myself into attending. Alex did such a good job with blogwars over the years I want to make sure his new venture takes off, even if it isn't exactly how I'd want to run it, it's still an interesting concept.

So, plenty to keep me busy over the weeks ahead...

Friday, 20 January 2017

CATCH 8: Finished Phase 1, plans for Phase two, and an introduction...

So, first off I have finished all of the models required for this months CATCH. I finished the 30 strong squad of boyz last night, and squad Betty is ready to rock!

They have a very quick and simple colour scheme, and while it is a little flat it will be lost in the completed army anyway, as I have bigger better conversions to come... the basic troopers will be lost in the haze anyway, so why spend too much effort and agony on them?

I mean, they aren't bad, they're just a basic tabletop standard. These boyz will join the Big Mek and grots...

And of course the commandos...

So, what does phase 2 have in store? I have decided for phase 2 I shall bring in the other named character of this phase, my Warboss Fred. As I had already divided my force into 500 point blocks, that means that next phase I shall be painting the following...

Warboss Fred, cybork body, Bosspole, Headwhoppas Killchoppa - 90

3 Meganoz, all armed with killsaws, 1 bosspole - 155
ded tran truk, boarding plank, rokkit - 50

3 Meganoz, all armed with killsaws, 1 bosspole - 155
ded tran truk, boarding plank, rokkit - 50

And that's phase 2. A total of 2 vehicles and 7 infantry. Should be somewhat easier than phase 1. I have converted warboss Fred and have beside me all the boxes and bits I need to convert the rest, which should keep me busy for the rest of January.

And finally, a quick broadcast from the iic...

With a growing tribe around him and frequent co-operation with the sky warriors tribe, the ork presence around Barney has been growing, but we were still no closer to finding Fred, despite all our attempts to locate him. Could he have fallen victim to some foul creature, or freak accident? We dearly hoped not. The entire production team had always adored Fred, although there are of course risks to raising wild animals in captivity. For instance, the rudimentary communication skills of orks, which includes the legendary "Waagh" Fred has never learned, for he grew up with humans. When challenging his brother for dominance he would utter his own form of gibberish. We had hoped that dropping him into an ork society he would learn from them.

However, we dropped them into young societies so they wouldn't get eaten alive, and would have a chance to rise to dominance. This dominant position did not factor into our thinking when we considered who would learn a language from who.

As such, we heard a trembling through the trees. It sounded like great beasts were approaching. Then our camera equipment all started getting intolerable interference, we couldn't film anything... thus we have no footage, as two lumbering beasts entered the clearing, carrying some of the biggest orks I have seen, wearing rudimentary suits of armour. Amongst them stood Fred, carrying what has to be the biggest axe I have ever seen in my life. I don't know where he got it from, but from the ringing in my ears it is clearly not of this world, and is probably what is playing merry hell with our technical equipment. Around him, the tribes stood in rapt wonder, as Fred announced his presence, and confirmed his dominance. He held his axe aloft, and to the stars, issued his warcry. The jungle vibrated to the sound, as several tribes of orks took voice, and joined in with the chant. We slipped away to a safe distance, as the hills echoed to the sound of "YABBA DABBA DOOOOO!"

Friday, 13 January 2017

Ye Orkshire Rippers: Behind the Scenes

So with our games club Bloodbowl league due to start in the next couple of weeks, I've written up my team. I wanted to put lots of smash factor in there, so I've left myself a bit thin in the reroll department, and I'm clearly a brand new team as I'm starting with 0 fan factor... hopefully we'll get a couple wins under our belt and start to earn some fans. The team has a thrower, 4 Blitzers, 3 Blockers, and 4 Linemen. Future expansion may go to a troll, though he is unreliable, and possibly another Blocker. But an early priority will be saving money for an extra reroll or two. Admittedly more expensive to buy once a season is underway but I have to do it this way to start with the team I want to start with.

With that many specialist players starting, I had no room for cheerleaders, although I have painted some up so they will be a priority on my hiring list, just so I can show them off.

I did include an apothecary, I felt that if I was going to spend so much money on specialist positions the last thing I wanted was a game one fatality, so the apothecary was insurance against that. I do have an old savage ork shaman I can use for this for now, though I am hunting for a better representation for an apothecary, and may have found something kinda cool for now... but I'm still waiting for it to be delivered.

I have dusted off my old manager, Alexis Furgi, and have repainted an old referee.

During my hunt for a suitable apothecary I have seen dozens of awesome models that make my dream of one day building a bloodbowl stadium all the more appealing, just slight downside that the newer bigger models (that I love) come with a newer bigger pitch (which is pretty) which doesn't bloody FIT in the old craps table I have that I had always planned to use. How bloody irritating!

Alexis has frequent disagreements with referees...
They aren't always settled in his favour...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Catch 7: Strange Technical Glitches, and Incredible Fireside Stories

Greetings once again viewers as we return to our study of this feral ork society. We have had a fascinating few days watching these creatures, and we have been following one particular tribe almost incessantly, and have got some fascinating insights into their culture.

This tribe, which we mentioned before as the ones who liked to mimic our behaviour, have a rudimentary education process, basically fireside tales. Having no grasp of their language didn't hinder our understanding too much, as it seems they have no more of an understanding of their language than we do... however, not being creatures of old Albia, they don't use the repeat slower and louder approach, they merely hit each other until understanding is reached. It seems to work reasonably well.

From watching fireside re-enactments, one of the most revered tales to this particular tribe is a tale of red armoured warriors that came from the sky, and wreaked havoc. They had weapons that made loud noises, they liked to fight, and they drove chariots that were incredibly fast, all things that appeal in great measure to orks everywhere. This particular group of sky-warriors, told of in this tale, embarked upon their red chariot and proceeded to drive it faster and faster and faster... until it vanished, leaving nothing but a pair of flaming tracks and an ID plate, which is a holy relic to the tribe.

Who knows how long it has been since these events occurred, for time seems to be an elusive concept to these creatures, and counting seems to progress "one, two, many, lots" We can find no record of prior Imperial explorations to this system, although the glimpses we could get of the relic leads me to believe it is from a Blood Angels rhino transport. We did check in with the chapter, but they refused to comment. We asked the inquisition, they said they had no information, but were very much looking forward to seeing our broadcast. Strangest of all was the Adeptus Mechanicus, for when we asked for their records of this system they bleated something in binary and responded that the system doesn't exist... clearly their records are in error, for we stand upon this very world. The IIC is not usually one to crow about getting one over on another organisation, but as I'm pretty sure the binaric cant was not a particularly polite term, I am willing to indulge in a little competitiveness just this once.

Finally, we had hoped to finish with a most unusual sighting. My camera crew claimed to have seen an orange, hairy creature in the trees, and their description brings to mind the elusive Jokaero. They claimed to have recorded it, and reviewed the footage, yet when they came to show me in the production tent, the footage had all vanished, and been replaced by an image of a child in front of a schola board. I have no idea where that image came from or why the footage they claimed to have captured has disappeared, or why our broadcast logs are showing us transmitting data at odd intervals, not just showtime, but little technical glitches like this will plague any field operation. If you want a comfortable job, take a job in the studio. But I prefer to explore!

In other news, I finally have the first stage plans for all (current) participants.

Ginge, Orks

Big Mek Barney
10 Gretchin and a Runtherd
15 Kommandos, Nob Bosspole big choppa
30 boyz, Nob Bosspole Big Choppa

Ken, Mechanicum (and has already put some of his own background up tying him into my little narrative)

10 Vanguard
5 Infiltrators
Tech Priest (so basically the start collecting box)

His narrative also left a nice little plot hook, which I have draped a little more onto after hearing about Jamies plans for Inquisitorial forces...

Jamie, Inquisition
(apologies, can't find the exact list, but was 5 deathwatch marines, an inquisitor and a few henchmen)

My commandos also offer a nice link should Jason wish to join in, although both the Inquisition and the Blood Angels are of course free to disavow all knowledge and pursue their own narrative path...

Jason, Blood Angels

Tactical squad w/ flamer, heavy flamer and sergeant w/ combi-flamer, lightning claw and meltabombs.
Rhino w/ dozer blade

Tactical squad w/ meltagun, multimelta and sergeant w/ combi-flamer, power fist.
Rhino w/ dozer blade

Rob, Tau... has stated an interest in taking his scouting, exploratory force Ork hunting, as he plans to do a Farsight enclaves list, and they aren't exactly friendly towards Orks if I recall...

3 Stealth suits
3 stealth suits
4 piranhas

And finally, feeling a little isolated we have Rich, who plans to get in games against a Space Wolf player who isn't taking part in Catch in order to develop his narrative along a summoning Magnus sort of axis...

Rich, Chaos

Ahriman - 230/260 with disc

Exalted Sorcerer - 220 - Mastery 3, Spell Familiar, Gift of Mutation, Staff of Arcane Compulsion, Tzeetch Powers.
Exalted Sorcerer - 240 - Mastery 3, Spell Familiar, Gift of Mutation, Disc of Tzeencth, Malific Powers.
Exalter Sorcerer - 230 - Mastery 3, Spell Familiar, Gift of Mutation, Coruscator, (haven't decided his powers/role yet).

Although if he should decide that Magnus has a new found affinity for killing Orks (or perhaps Magnus sees something on this rock that the iic has missed) then perhaps he can as yet join in with this bundle that appears to be coalescing above my poor defenceless feral society...

Looks like we're set to have some fun!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Star Wars: Rebellion

Of late I have played a few games of Star Wars: Rebellion, and it seems with every replay I love this game more and more.

For a rundown of how the game works, I prefer to leave that to the professionals (kinda) as they can cover it far better than I. However I will say I have had some fantastic (and comical) games over the past few weeks...

There was my game against Neil where I crushed the rebellion on turn 2, after a stormtrooper and an AT-ST found it while gathering resources... it was really, REALLY poor base placement on Neils part, and I have never seen a game end so quickly. It normally lasts about 9-10 turns. So we switched seats, and the rebels unseated the Empire on turn 6 after blowing up a second death star. The beauty of this was that I was sending out two single fighters to attack an undefended death star under construction for easy pickings, and as I wasn't in a rush I did a couple other things first... then regretted my decision when Neil hurried the production and placed a completed (or fully armed and operational) battle station in the space... so I threw the dice anyway and luckily managed to destroy the weapon for the win.

I then played a game against Ken where, once again, I won as Imperials... this time crushing the rebellion on turn 9. With the way the game had gone, I had to kill the rebels that turn or it was game over. And while I could have sent in an overwhelming ground force to the rebel base (I knew where it was) I held back to let the death star claim the coup de grace... this was risky though as I had to fight through the rebel flotilla first. I sent in 6 star destroyers and a wave of ties to clear a path, however a sole fighter survived to take a shot at the death star... and thankfully failed. If ken had made that roll (and his odds were about 50/50) then the following ground forces would have been completely academic, he'd have already secured the victory. So a bit risky on my part, but worth it.

Finally, we come to my favourite game so far. Rob, who had mocked Neil religiously for leading the rebellion so badly, played against me. And to be fair, he lasted longer than Neil did. However, at one point the rebel reputation was as low as it can possibly go (after I'd frozen Mon Mothma in Carbonite and lured Luke to the Dark Side.) From that point on it became a game of "what fun things can I get Luke to do" such as an attempt to capture Han Solo (Hey, he might still trust me...) to being the one to move the death star (look what my daddy gave me the keys to!)
Eventually I crushed the rebels at Hoth. It was turn 9. I still had about another 6 turns of time before I had to worry about the rebellion, and it had been largely academic as a game for the last few turns, but was still fun nonetheless as Rob threw his entire fleet at taking out my super star destroyer (apt) and I realised I had made a bit of a doozy in sacrificing the wrong mission cards, as while I had two death stars, all three "fire the death star" orders were in the project deck (the final 3 cards in the deck) and I was waiting for an order to come up to draw some more project cards, but that order as it turned out was right near the bottom of the deck. I was poised over Naboo for a gungan extermination too!

All in all, it is an excellent game, and I have another session lined up Tuesday to introduce some more people to how much fun this game can be.

One thing... searching the internet for a couple of stock photos, I have seen some people have painted all the models in this set, to which I say NOPE...

Thursday, 5 January 2017

CATCH 6: A Productive Couple Days

With CATCH underway I set to the task, managing to get my entire first phase undercoated in that brief spell of pleasant weather we had on Tuesday. And I set to the units with a paintbrush today...

I have about a third of the squad of commandos done... Snikrot and another 9 to go. It's not an original idea, I've seen it on the internet and was inspired, but am pleased with how it's come out nonetheless...

One of the other CATCH participants is planning to do Blood Angels, so hopefully we'll catch him off guard at the very least...

I also got my big mek Barney and a squad of grots done.

I am still waiting for one person to submit their list before I do a post detailing the various participants and their efforts, although Ken has started his storyline and we are bouncing ideas off each other already, which is fun.

And finally, a piece unrelated to CATCH - I finished my bloodbowl team, and have set a date for the season kick off.

Have written up my roster, need to dig out my old coach and apothecary, although I do want to update the apothecary, the problem being I've spotted an awesome model online... but can I find it ANYWHERE to buy? Can I hell! Best I can establish it was a prize at a Spanish bloodbowl competition at least 5 years ago and while there were some available on the day and it wasn't a one off, I do think it was a limited run, which is a damn shame as it is an awesome model...

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

CATCH 5: Feral Ork Mimicry

Greetings once again dear audience, as we take another look at our burgeoning ork society.

To get each of our orks to develop some resilience away from human contact, we dropped them from low orbit with a rudimentary anti-gravitic atmospheric retardation system, or "bedsheets and string" as my producer called it. We also scattered some remote cameras around the system to monitor their progress while we set ourselves to making camp, close enough to interact with the wandering tribes, but hopefully not too frequently.

On our first foray from basecamp we came across a remarkable tribe of orks, most unlike what we had been lead to expect from the majority of ork reports. Perhaps developing in isolation has manifested unusual behaviours. Most reports claim orks are always loud and brash and far from subtle, yet this grouping caught us almost completely unawares. This startled my production crew somewhat, however fortunately I suspect they had recently eaten, for they didn't appear to be out to harm us, they seemed more curious about the fact that we were different. They took to mimicking our behaviour, picking up several of our remote cameras and pointing them back at us, which while utterly endearing to my cameraman who took it as a personal mark of respect, it did make capturing footage of their behaviour difficult in the extreme. From 18 hours of footage from 6 different angles, we have about 12 hours of jungle, 5 and a half hours of us, and about 30 minutes of the wildlife we are here to observe!

Eventually we moved on from the mimicry tribe and sought Barney, who was close by according to our remote camera feed. However there t have been a fault with the camera, as he was not where we expected him to be. It seemed to have developed a recurring loop. We should have perhaps noticed that he was picking his nose continuously for 8 hours straight, but then he is an ork and in the nursery he'd scratched his groin for 14 hours so we didn't realise straight away that there was anything odd about his behaviour.

We found him not too far away, and he had clearly had a run in with some other tribe. He was battered and bruised and there were other ork bodies around the area. There was no sign of any attacker. We assume it was just one of those things of feral ork society, survival of the fittest. It is precisely what we wanted to record, and instead we have footage of ourselves and nose picking. To say it has been a frustrating first day of filming would be an understatement.

However, each day we deploy more cameras and we will get better coverage, and learn more of the lives of our young orks. Stick with us, for the show will get better.

On that rather disappointing day, we bring this broadcast to an end.