Wednesday, 30 September 2009

CSM Project Update: On the Final Stretch

I now have only 330pts of the CSM project left to paint (The predator that I bought on ebay arrived today almost TWO WEEKS after I paid for it). The plan is to repaint the first rhino this weekend, do the predator the week after and then finish off with the last 10 CSMs.

In terms of costings, the whole 1k project cost me £97.44, not including the bases from Dark Art Miniatures. If I factor in the 30 urban bases, it would probably come in at around £105 or so.

Monday, 28 September 2009

White Dwarf is Boring

One of the first things I did when I got back into the hobby last year was buy a copy of White Dwarf. As I'm also a bit of a completist and wanted to re-immerse myself, I also bought the previous 6-7 years worth of back issues on ebay. I also even bought second hand the only copy of WD that I had when I was a kid (issue 101) for sentimental reasons.
Recently, though, my love of the magazine has begun to wane and I've essentially stopped buying it as a default thing every month (although I did buy the last one to read about Space Hulk)
This is why I found this thread over at the Hogs of War interesting. The blogger has a subscription and he is going to review each issue so we know what we are potentially getting before we open up a copy in the shop and/or part with cash (I think another blogger is doing this, but I can't remember who).
So, why have I given up on WD? Well, several reasons really:

1. It's a sales catalogue. We all know this. I'm not saying anything new. WD is a sales catalogue, designed to promote GW product and make us all lust after it. This is fine and dandy, but I really want more from a magazine than just 'look at this!'. Also, the articles are contrived - all saying how great the new mins, rules, codex, book (basically any GW product) is and why YOU should want it (i.e. 'well, Jervis, I'm glad that you asked me about the quality of the moulds. Let me tell you...").

2. Battle reports are boring. I often liken battle reports to reading other peoples accounts of having sex. I'd much prefer to be playing a game or even watching people I know play than reading about people who I have never met playing games (games that in principle might never have even happened). The only reason I could see myself reading it is to glean tactics, but I can never figure them out from battle reports anyway.

3. Get the same for free from fans. Most, if not all, of WD content can be found on blogs and forums - often ages before it's covered in WD. There are also quite a few fanzines that, although not as professionally produced as WD, literally drip with fan love but which are also honest in their reviews. I'd much prefer to read an online zine or a pdf release that has loads of typos, bad photos etc. if it feels genuine and has a real honesty to it.

4. Narrow Content. Looking back a way, WD used to be much more diverse in the types of articles that it used to have. Not so long ago, you got articles on RPGs, Necromunda, Battlefleet Gothic etc. Now, all you get is 40k, Warhammer and War(hammer) of the Ring (even LoTR SBG has been sidelined). I can understand them wanting to support the core games, but some scope would also be nice. They might even get people interested in non-core games.

5. Recycled Content. Linked with this, there is a SERIOUS amount of recycling going on in the painting articles. The general ethos with them appears to reflect the belief that either there is a rapid turnover in players or most players have no long term memory for how to paint faces, space marines etc etc. Also, linked with 3, most, if not all, of these kind of tips are available online in forums and blogs

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Ultramarines - The Film

News is bubbling up that there is a W40K film in production. Ultramarines, according to the publicity blurb, is to be produced by the London-based company, Codex Pictures (the people behind the Lego BIONICLE films) and "will use CGI and state-of-the-art animation production techniques". It should also clock in at around 70 mins (and will, I'm guessing, most likely be released straight to DVD and sold in GW stores).
I am obviously excited about this, not least because of my interest in W40K fanfilms and fandom generally. My excitement, though, is tempered with a fair bit of pessimism as W40K fandom has been here before. Back in 2001, there were news reports that GW was in discussion with Dreamworks to produce a £25m film. The subsequent project, Bloodquest, however never made it off the starting blocks - allegedly being pulled because GW needed the cash to fund buying the rights to produce miniatures for the LoTR films. All that remains from the project, at least in the public domain, is a trailer for it over on youtube. My fear is that the project will either run out of money or, based on past form, GW will pull the plug on it before the project really gets going.

CSM 1000pt Project Update: 664pts painted - Khorne Berzerkers

Spent the weekend painting 9 Khorne Berzerkers, taking my total for the project to 664pts. I debated for a while about whether to paint them in standard red armour or paint them to match the CSMs. In the end I decided on red out of tradition and because it matched up well with the CSMs colour-scheme anyway.
I just have 10 CSMs and the predator to paint up and then I have my full 1,000pt army ready to go. All things being equal, I think this week I will redo the first rhino to match the rest, next week I'll do the last 10 CSMs and then do the predator last (assuming it has arrived by then).

On a related note, paypal have agreed with me that the CSMs that I bought a few weeks back on ebay were duff and that the guy who sold them to me has to refund me and pay for return postage (as I requested right at the start). Looks like someone will be getting negative feedback...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

TUTORIAL: How to make you vehicles look like they have spent 10,000 years in daemonic flames

I thought I would post this, as it may be of interest to some how I did my rust/burned rhino.

Stage 1: start with a rhino (or other vehicle)
Start with the basic chassis. I sprayed this with basic black spray from a hardware store. Citadel paints work great for this and really crack well.

Stage 2: cover it in glue
I know this image looks dodgy (lol) but drop splodges of glue on the section that you want to damage first. I used citadel glue as it smells nice (!!) and I've always found it works well for this. Leave it to dry a little and then start to smear it around using your index finger, tapping areas to make it bubble and crack. One thing that you might notice is that the citadel glue goes a bit wispy in places and creates trails of cotton-wool like fibres. These are a pain at first, but come off easily.
When you have finished a section, it should look something like this:

and when you have done the whole vehicle it should look something like this:

Stage 3: stippling boltgun metal
For the first layer of paint, take an old tank brush and load it up with boltgun metal. Clean most of the paint off the brush so a drybrush amount remains and then stipple (i think that's the right word for it) the paint on gently so as to not obscure the detail below. Work in small areas and then extend outwards. Leave the tracks until last and just drybrush those as standard. It should then look something like this:

Stage 4: random stippling of tin bitz
Next stipple tin bitz randomly. Use a standard-ish amount of paint and try to cover most, but not all, of the vehicle. It should then look something like this:

Stage 5: washes
The best bit :-) Take Devlan Mud and Gryphonne Sepia washes and douse the model in them, ideally so they are runny and mix into each other. Depending on how much you use, leave the vehicle a couple of hours for them to soak in.

Once its dried, add another wash of sepia in selected areas. It should then look something like this:

Stage 6: weapons etc
The final stage involves painting any weapons etc. that you want to add to the vehicle in the same way (minus the glue), and then affixing them. If you wanted to go a bit mad with it, you could maybe melt some edges a bit or add mud to the tracks.

It's then ready for use:

CSM 1000pt Project Update: 395pts painted

After a series of stop-starts, work on the heart of the CSM project has been continuing apace for the last week or so after the battleforce arrived. I now have 395pts of the 1k painted up, leaving 600 or so points left (or 10 more CSMs, 9 Khorne Berzerkers, a rhino and a predator left to do).
I'm in the midst of painting the rhino at the moment, and will paint a step-by-step blog on painting it in uber-rust. I think I might also redo the rhino on the right to match the army colour scheme better.

I really like the colour scheme of the tactical squad, and I thought that i would experiment a bit with them and mix up standard CSM bits with some possessed limbs and torsos. Each one has a bolter in their right hands, but their left hands might be a demonic claw or whatever.
Finally, I'm not sure whether CSMs are meant to be cute or not, but if they are, i think this one is - although I wouldn't fancy meeting him down a dark alley lol

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The CSM Project begins in earnest

Yay! the CSM battleforce box has finally arrived! I'm not proud to admit that i did shake the box several times before opening it and savoured the weight of the plastic therein. I decanted the lid of the box like it was holding a fine win (i know im stretching the similes here) and just pored over each sprue in turn.


I've already painted up 5 of my CSM rust marines and they look really great. The scheme is black undercoat followed by drybrushes of boltgun metal and tinbitz, then devlan mud and sepia washes doused on them (the mini is basically drowned in it). Finally, once they are dry, a final splodge of sepia wash finishes the job off. Will upload pix when its brighter.

My plan is to paint 5 more to make a squad up and then do the second squad, the rhino, Khorne Berzerkers and then the predator in that order. I'm also planning to do a bit of low-level customisation on each one by mixing the possessed and standard CSM sprue parts together so, for example, I can have each marine with a bolter and then some sort of demon bit on his other arm, add a demon head rather than a CSM head etc etc. Each demon bit will be done in a red Khorne colour-scheme. I'd love to do nurgle, but wouldnt know where to begin and i have 4 shades of red paint lol.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Rust Rhino is complete

Thought that i might do something a bit different with the second rhino. I've done battle-damage before on other vehicles, but i really got carried away with this one. The idea is that the rhino has been hit with something hot and fiery (possibly also a bit demonic) and/or has really seen some action over the last 10,000 years.
Inspired by the look, I think I might do my CSMs as heavily rusted as well.

Finally, a closeup showing bullet holes:

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

CSM Project Update: First Rhino Completed & Update on the Challenge

The CSM project has gotten off to some false starts, and aside from the Terminator Lord, I have yet to really begin painting proper (Maelstrom promise that I will have the Battleforce in 2 days). Having said that, I have been working on my first CSM Rhino (of the 3 that will eventually be in the 1k army list) and have it ready. I swapped it for some LoTR minis from a friend and it was already in great shape, but I wanted to add some rust and battle damage and generally redo the black paint.

The initial challenge has broken down essentially because I have realised how hard it is to buy decent second-hand minis on ebay. Most of those listed have either been resprayed so many times that they are just like hunks of black tar or are generally knackered. So, I'm trying now to bring a 1k army in at under 100 quid, buying from resellers to try and keep the budget down. The army list is:

Chaos Lord (Mark of Khorne, Power Weapon) 115
10X CSMs (Aspiring Champion w Powerfist, 2 meltas) 200
Rhino (T/L Bolter) 40

9x Berzerkers (Skull Champion w Powerfist) 229
Rhino (T/L Bolter) 40
10X CSMs (Aspiring Champion w Powerfist, 2 meltas) 200
Rhino (T/L Bolter) 40
Heavy Support
Predator (Sponson Las cannons) 130

(994 points in total)
(115 points painted)

On a related note, I've completed the revisions to my Damnatus article and just sent it back to TCS's editors. continue.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Damnatus Article Update

The editor from Transformative Works and Cultures has been in touch with a list of revisions for my article on Damnatus. The referees liked it (yay!), but they wanted me to tighten up the argument in some places and sort out some formatting errors (created when I transferred the document from Mac PAGES format to RTF)

Monday, 7 September 2009

The CSM Project? Is it cursed by the Lords of Chaos??!!

20 CSMs arrived today that I bought off ebay. Most are unpainted, but they have been stuck together horribly, have guns missing, stuck upside down etc. etc. I'll try and return them for a refund or put them back on the bay, and hopefully some 10-year-old fanboy will take them off my hands.
On a brighter note, I swapped some LoTR minis for a chaos rhino from a friend, and the Chaos Lord is now complete aside from the base (not sure yet what type of basing to use)

Hopefully the CSM Boxset from Maelstrom wont be much longer...

Sunday, 6 September 2009

What Should Games Workshop Do?

A really interesting post over at Sepulchre of Heroes, with some ideas about what they think GW should do. I've already posted some thoughts over there, but for my money:

1. Codexes. It's really frustrating when you have an army that has not had a codex for ages (i.e. Eldar, Necrons etc.), not least as every time a new codex comes out for an army it's so turbo-charged (to encourage purchases) that it makes the older codexes harder to cope (i.e. the new Guard codex where you can field 50 Guard or something as one troop choice, 5 tanks per HS choice etc). I appreciate the logistics of this, but it would be nice if codexes could be re-balanced when new rules come out rather than just turbocharging the latest codex as a way of selling boxes of the latest minis.

2. Prices: GW is an expensive hobby to get into. I was in GW once and some kid came in with his granny and he wanted to get into it. The sales guy said 'well, you need Black Reach for 50 quid, basic paints and brushes for another 10-20, clippers for 7 etc etc etc'. His Gran said 'have you got any magazines he can have for free?' lol. The good thing is that you can buy (variable quality) minis off ebay, or new from resellers at a discount.

3. Support for Lord of the Rings SBG: It's a real shame that, now that War of the Ring has come along, GW aren't (according to the rumours) going to support the SBG any more. Of course, it makes more business sense to support WoTR (SBG 500pt games = not many minis sold but 5,000pt WoTR games = LOTS of minis sold), but, for my money, WoTR is a poor gaming system, aimed at uber-powergamers.

4. Bitz: One of the major barriers for me getting into conversion is the lack of bitz available. Unless I am going to buy job lots on ebay and try it's impossible. I recently wanted to try and make a Vulkan He'Stan conversion until I realised that it was cheaper to buy the mini than buy 4-5 different ones for the conversion pieces. I can't see the problem of GW stores stocking bitz that you can by individually for conversion. They don't like the idea of fans using bitz from other companies in their conversions, but often this is the only way

5. A 40K Film: I would also add that they need to get their act together and either make a 40K film or at the least remove the ban on the Damnatus fanfilm being released.

6. Rewarding Loyalty: GW need to also have some way of rewarding those who purchase from stores regularly. If I buy, for example, from Maelstrom Games online, I get the minis cheaper (10-15%), free delivery and money back towards future purchases. If I buy online from GW I get free postage if I'm lucky, and the stock is at the same price as the store. If I buy in the store I get nothing. I'm willing to stand corrected on this, but GW is perhaps the only store that I know of that doesn't have seasonal sales, 2 for 1 offers etc. The nearest we get with them is battleforces. Again, it reeks of bleeding the fanboys dry.

That's just my two-penneth...

Saturday, 5 September 2009

CSM Project Update (AKA The Rules Go Out Of The Window)

Frustrated that after over a week of the CSM project I still haven't painted a single mini, I gave in today and went to buy the Chaos Lord from down at Hobbycraft.
I've been working on it a few hours and it's about 1/3 done. I'm particularly impressed with the cape (and also how devlan mud on black acts as a type of glaze). Hopefully, I can finish it tomorrow.

(ps yeah, I know I'm odd, but I always paint minis before assembling and basing them)

Friday, 4 September 2009

a bad start to the CSM project :-/

The second-hand Khorne Berzerkers that i bought from ebay from 13 quid have arrived and are dire. I bought them are resprayed ones, but it looks like they have been sprayed with tar. Also, the legs and bodies in some cases are standard marines with Khorne heads attached (like they have just swapped sides lol).
Then to make it worse, i opened up the large drybrush that just came from the (usually brilliant) Maelstrom Games

Hopefully I can return them both for a refund.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Fanstudies and 40K/GW Related: Thoughts on Fandom

While I've been waiting for my various Chaos Space Marine bits and bobs to come in this week, I've been reading more fan studies stuff and thinking about what I mean by W40K fandom. Looking through the various books there is no clear definition of what is meant by 'fan' or 'fandom', and where definitions are proposed there is either no agreement about what they mean or they are so broad as to be able to encompass anything. The best we seem to get is either 'well, we all know what it means' or, as Matt Hills does in his book, Fan Cultures, a rejection at any attempt at definition.
That said, recurring themes, though, in the attempts at definition are:
1. fandom is based on consumption (i.e. buying objects associated with the interest)
2. fandom is about interacting with other fans (online, through blogs, face to face, at conventions etc etc.)
3. fandom is about creativity (writing fan stories and films, drawing etc)
4. fandom is about emotions (having an emotional engagement with your interest)
5. fandom is a form of community (a collection of individuals linked by their shared love of X)
6. fandom is about resistance (fans creating their own culture in opposition to mass culture)
7. fandom is intense (watching shows over and over again, reading and re-reading books)

So, I thought I would turn the question on its head or at least turn it around. Rather than trying to impose a top-down definition of what W40K/GW related fandom is, I thought it would be better (and certainly more interesting) to ask players themselves what it means to them to be a fan. In other words, and I hope this doesn't sound a silly question (because it isn't) - what makes a 40K/GW related fan? Are there particular levels or degrees of fans?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Fan Studies and W40K/GW Related: More Thoughts on Canon

The more I think about it, the more I think that what I'm terming 'The Gaming System' is the GW/40K equivalent of the canon within fan studies discussions. As per the last post, I'm including in this three inter-related elements, all of which are copyrighted under Games Workshop's IP Policy (Rules, Background/fluff, and miniatures), and which provide a standard frame of reference and resources for fan creativity.

This allows comparison between GW fandom and other forms of fandom, such as for example the ways in which fans appropriate images, sound and footage to produce their own fanvids/films. It also provides a useful starting point for examining the various tensions may occur between what fans want to do and what rights holders would prefer them not to do.

To give some examples, taken from the clearly titled What you can and can't do with Games Workshop's intellectual property page from GW's site. Fans are asked:

1. Not to "Create, distribute, or use any material that is not consistent with the functionality, atmosphere, and parameters of the Warhammer universe as created and owned by Games Workshop". This is similar to the situation in the early-1980s where Lucasfilm began to take a very dim view of various erotic stories that were circulating among fans. One of the key themes in fan studies is the ways in which fans can appropriate content and (rightly or wrongly) take it in directions completely away from where te rightsholders would prefer it to be (i.e. re-reading Star Trek as homosexual relationship between Kirk and Spock)

2. "Please don't use one of our registered trademarks as part of your web domain name. This right is reserved for GW companies and formal licensees only."

3. "While we are likely to be happy for you to create your own desktop themes based upon our IP, please do not use our trademarks in those themes. In other words, do not use our logos and symbols, but please do draw your own version of a Wood Elf or Tyranid."

4. "We encourage fellow hobbyists to show off their painting skills by taking photos of their miniatures and putting the on the site. Please remember to correctly credit the IP - "miniature © Games Workshop 2003. All rights reserved. Used without permission - model painted by xxxxxxx""

5. Fan Fiction: "Please remember to use the correct trademark disclaimer somewhere on your site, zip file and/or document. We would also ask that at the top of the material you state something equivalent to the following: "Death Ravine" an unofficial story by K. Roundtree derived, without permission, upon the Warhammer intellectual property owned by Games Workshop Ltd.". This cannot be sold, though: "We cannot allow users to make and or sell derivatives of our copyright protected material or our trademarks on the café press or any similar websites."

6. Fan-created Rules Supplements etc: "There is no need to stick precisely to the published rules. However, if you are thinking about making your own Codex for your Space Marine chapter (in addition to following the other guidelines in this policy), please avoid making it look official as this may confuse gamers and amount to a challenge to our trademarks. Also, do not copy our official publications or documents."

7. Conversions: "Please do not combine our intellectual properties with IP owned by any third parties.". See the discussion over on Santa Cruz Warhammer's blog on this

8. A blanket ban on all fanfilms: ".... due to the nuances of the law in some territories, we cannot allow any unlicensed movies to be created which are based upon our intellectual property."

9. web comics: "We would probably not take issue with anyone creating a web comic based upon our intellectual property - but as with forums, keep in mind that the hobby is for people of all ages. Please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed. We would strongly recommend that you avoid any topics concerning illegal behavior, obscenity, or libel."

10. fonts: "Unfortunately, GW cannot allow third parties to use our trademarks without properly crediting our ownership, lest they be damaged. With fonts, it is difficult, if not impossible, to use the marks and credit Games Workshop as rightful owners. Accordingly, do not use our IP in relation to fonts."

11. screensavers "As is the case with fonts, GW cannot allow third parties to use our trademarks without properly crediting our ownership, lest they be damaged. You may only create screen savers if it properly credits our IP. We would also remind you that you cannot alter or change our trademarks in any way."

12.animations: "We would probably not have a problem with anyone creating animations based upon our intellectual property - as long as there is no commercial connection to that creation. Again, please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed."

13. fanzines: "...if you are thinking about starting a fanzine, please do not use our trademarks... Importantly, if you are creating a solely GW-focused fanzine, do not sell your fanzine and do not obtain any sponsorship."

14. avatars: "If you want to use avatars and similar monikers, create them yourself and credit the origins of the IP in your message sign off."

15: Tattoos: "we cannot allow tattoos as an acceptable use of our IP as a third party necessarily has to perform the 'service'"

Chaos Update (costings)

To buy everything new would cost £104.65 for the individual boxes:
10 CSMs £19.55
9 KBs £17.60 (for 12)
1 Lord £7.85
2 Rhinos £35.20
1 Predator £24.45

(or £74.40 for the boxset and then everything else on top)

So, the plan is still to try and get the whole thing in for under 50 quid, trying to get as much as possible second hand or from resellers.