Monday, March 28, 2016

Genestealer Infestation Growing

So this week is kind of a mixed bag - I didn't get to paint as much as I'd like over the week, but I did manage to make some headway on the Genestealers in the Deathwatch: Overkill set. At this point, I've got roughly half of the little buggers done. These models have been an absolute delight to assemble and paint - the engineering is top notch and these sculpts just ooze character. It almost makes me want to start a Genestealer Cult army for Warhammer 40,000 and I haven't stuck my head into that meat grinder in a decade. I'm sure I'll wise up.

They're gonna pinch ya! Just give ya a pinch!

The stuff of nightmares!
Rocky? Road? I love these guys. They remind me of Sloth from the Goonies!
These guys are just such awesome sculpts. They practically paint themselves.
Who designs mining lasers for use with 3 hands and doesn't expect monsters to use them?
These guys remind me of riot control.

Currently, I've just got the finished models tacked onto the appropriate sized bases with a little glue. I am thinking about dropping the cash on some really nice industrial modeled resin bases from a company like Dragon Forge or Secret Weapon, but we'll see. My first real priority is to get them to a place where I can game comfortably with them in Deathwatch: Overkill. Suffer not the alien to be unpainted.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Returning to Warhammer

When I was 10 years old I picked up a copy of the then new Warhammer Fantasy Battle game on a family trip through Great Britain. Between that and the exposure to hordes of wonderfully painted miniatures in museums across England, Scotland and Wales I came back to the US a changed boy. I played some version of WHFB up until 2006. I ended up moving from New Jersey to Washington State and there just wasn't enough room to pack all my armies into a Honda Civic. This was also around the time that I'd started playing Warmachine and WHFB was feeling a little stale. I used to play Warhammer regularly with a great group of guys, but I felt our games were getting a little predicable. Having settled into my new surroundings, I had always meant to start a new WHFB army, but the time and expense of collecting the number of figures required kept me away.  I drifted into games like SAGA and Dragon Rampant, which gave me the medieval feel I wanted, while requiring manageable amounts of figures to play a good game.

When Games Workshop started the End Times series, I guess I could just see the writing on the wall. Having worked in the retail side of hobby games, I knew that even in shops where it was pushed heavily WHFB was never as big a seller as its far future younger brother. So I guess I was less than surprised to see GW scrap the Old World and roll the dice on something new. Enter Warhammer Age of Sigmar. The new setting is an epic battle set across a ruined multiverse - much more reminiscent of Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion books than Tolkien's Middle Earth. I love both writers an the artist side of me also understood the need to create a more controlled and defensible Intellectual Property. I know that is unpalatable to many, but I really can't fault a company for trying to control its product by making it less generic.

Age of Sigmar has drawn me back into Warhammer after a 10 year hiatus with its accessible rules, lower model count requirement and the wider scope of its background story. I realize that some reading that last bit are probably curling their fingers in frustration, but hear me out. While WHFB had 30 years of lore and history, its scope was kind of narrow. No battles had any real world-changing stakes and most storylines weren't moving anywhere. The current post-apoclyptic story set in different planes of existence provide players with easier justifications for battles, a wider inspiration of terrain and allows Games Workshop to move the story ahead as it develops.

All that said, I also feel like embracing the post-apocalyptic setting is key here. There's a certain level of goofy charm that I find in the over-the-top nature of the game. Everything feels like it should fighting to the power chords of the Doof Warrior from Mad Max: Fury Road. Wiiiiicka-wow-wow, wicka-wow-wow!!! Beeeeeewaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

I feel like this look is most excellently exemplified by the new Khorne Bloodbound models. Seeing them in the new starter set, I gave in. I've never been super into the Khorne aesthetic, but these guys just grabbed me in a big way. The detail is fantastic and every unit type feels really distinct and unique while sharing similar design beats.

A mighty Warlord of Khorne! And his faithful companion!

The Standard Bearer is called a Bloodsecrator! I mean, c'mon! That's hilarious!
Bloodstoker (not to be confused with Bram Stoker) and da Skull Grinder!

A unit of Skullcrushers I've wanted since I was 15.
A pack of Korgoroths - Khorne Chaos spawns.
Blood Warriors! Are you sensing a pattern to these names?
One unit of Blood Reavers!
And another!
I've even made some custom terrain for them to fight on!
I'm pretty near to closing the books on this project and adding to it here and there in the future. I'll also post up some step-by-step painting guides on the Khorne stuff.  If you're looking for deeper thoughts on Age of Sigmar as a game system, I'll post something about that in the future as well. In the meantime, I'm just having a ton of fun with game and look forward to playing it any chance I get.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Deathwatch Challenge

Last week Games Workshop's latest 40k board game, Deathwatch: Overkill, arrived on my doorstep and was greeted with much excitement on my part. I'm a huge fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe and an even bigger fan of Space Hulk. Space Hulk is one of those seminal games for me - I remember saving up to get it and playing it over and over with my brother. We had watched the game intently at the first US Games Day (it was held in an Elk's Lodge in Baltimore - yes, I'm THAT old) and we spent the intervening year honing our skills to play the following year. Space Hulk is a board game that despite any perceived rules wonkiness really does everything to sell its theme. Everything works to ensure the feeling of claustrophobia and rapid decision making and its one of my all-time favorite games because of that. So, based on the images of Deathwatch:Overkill, buying it was kind of a no-brainer for me.

In all its glory!

Deathwatch:Overkill clocks in a pretty hefty price tag - $165. That gave me pause for moment, but I justified it to myself because I really wanted to paint all the models. I don't view painting a necessary evil towards gaming, so the quality of a game's components mean a lot to me. Deathwatch:Overkill doesn't skimp on the production values. Everything here is up to Workshop's regular high standards of sculpting, engineering and design. GW's products have always pushed the limits of what the market will bear, but I can't say I've ever felt regret after purchasing one of their products.

So with the new game in my soft little artist's hands, I was kind of resigned to eventually getting around to this project in the future but some friendly joking with my good friend Rob Hawkins (of the Rob Hawkins Hobby Blog) set up a situation where we would each be competing to get a box set fully painted. He would paint his long ignored copy of Dreadfleet and I would paint up Deathwatch:Overkill instead of letting it gather dust on top of my copy of Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth. You can follow along on both blogs to see our progress and who finishes first!

So, first thing's first: I set about assembling the first frame of Genestealers. Everything went together smoothly, though the layout of the frame does create a bit of a "Where's Waldo?" feeling at times seeing as some parts are no where near their compatriots.

Darren Latham's originals! Not mine bub.
When it came to paint schemes, I was really taken by an alternate scheme for the Genestealers posted by Eavy Metal painter Darren Latham. It had a really nice industrial feel reminiscent of a Rebel pilot flight suit from Star Wars or the works of concept legend Ron Cobb's art (best know for designing the sets and suits from Alien) - so I had to give it a try. My first test model painted up quite nicely and think that they will end up being a great contrast to the mostly black armor of the Space Marines. I managed to crank out 5 1st and 2nd generation hybrids this weekend, so I feel like I'm off to a good start!

Test model.

Progress thus far.
My plan is to try and get the minimum units required for the first mission and play some. So check back for thoughts about the game play in the future.


Friday, March 11, 2016


Howdy and welcome to my first steps into the blogging world! I've been meaning to do this for a long, long time; but I let life and my own laziness get in the way. My buddy Rob Hawkins over at the Rob Hawkins Hobby Blog finally poked and prodded me into starting one up. The two of us are going to engage in a bit of a showdown to see who can get their boxed game fully painted first. Rob will be painting up his 4 year old copy of Dreadfleet and I will be badgering away at my copy of GW's latest offering; Deathwatch Overkill.

So, for those who don't know me - I'll tell you a little about myself and what you can expect on this blog. I've been a miniatures war gamer since I was around 10 years old and I've spent a lifetime drawing all things nerdy. I've been lucky enough to work professionally in the gaming industry as a retail store manager and as concept for several companies - most notably Privateer Press. Nowadays I make my living as a concept artist in the mobile gaming arena and I'm hoping to launch a new title very soon!

On the blog you can expect me to post about - 

Age of Sigmar - GW's much maligned replacement to Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Its a cracking game and I hope more people give it a chance.

Napoleonic Wargaming - I got bit by the bug a little over 4 years ago and never looked back. Big battles with big battalions and wonderful color schemes - what's not to like?! 


Warmachine/Hordes - while I rarely play anymore, I've painted a TON of stuff for the game and it still holds a special place in my heart.


Terrain Making - nothing hurts my soul more than seeing well-painted armies on terrible tables. So expect lots of little projects and rants.

Concept Art - even though I spend all day drawing and many evenings painting little men, I still find time to draw for myself. So I'll toss up anything that seems to be interesting at the time.

AND MORE! I play a lot of games - from 15mm scifi to SAGA to Muskets and Tomahawks. So you never really know what you'll find.