Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Plastic 28mm excitement!

Shamelessly stripped from my local Club's forum; who in turn have pulled it from the Victrix site:

Victrix are on schedule to release an exciting new range of 28mm scale hard plastic Napoleonic figures. At present we are at the pattern making and tooling stage and are on course to go to production in late September 2008.

Our first 4 sets:

VX0001 - Waterloo British Infantry Centre Company

VX0002 - British Peninsular Infantry Centre Company

VX0003 - Waterloo British Infantry Flank Company

VX0004 - British Peninsular Infantry Flank Company

Each set will feature the following:

52 individual figures including officers, standard bearers, NCO’s, and drummers. Cost of each set will be £19.95 that equates to £0.38 per figure. Separate heads allowing great flexibility in the posing of the models. All the heads have individual faces sculpted to a high standard giving figures character and an authentic look. Each set contains advancing, marching and firing line positions with many variations on each type of pose.

The sets contain dozens of arms allowing endless pose combinations. No two units need look the same, this is a huge improvement on sets of metal figures. Separate back packs, sword scabbards, muskets and pistols providing yet more opportunity for figures to have a unique look. Fast play rule set written by Barry Hilton from The League of Augsburg will be included in each boxed set. We have also included a 4 piece measuring rule with the figures that can be used in conjunction with the rule set. A set of 2 kings colours and 2 regimental colours included in each set. In addition we are providing a different flag sheet for each of our first 4 boxed sets. This potentially provides colours for 8 different regiments. (snip)Opponents for the British already at the design stage.

We have already started the design work on new sets; French Infantry in Bicornes and Shakos 1805 – 1812."Looks great. Along with Perry Napoleonic french plastics it looks as if soon will be able to do another era in 28mm plastics.

I for one am excited. I mean, look at the quality of those figures:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A campaigning Predator tank.

Once I'd finished the Dwarfs, last weekend, I picked the next thing I had readily to hand, that was as different as possible to spend some time on. A Predator tank for my 40k stuff.

This was going to be a shift of pace to something more carefully painted with the intention of producing a centrepiece model for my Space Marine force. The modelling work had been done long ago on this model, with that sentiment in mind. The inspiration will be obvious to my historical gaming readers out there, being influenced by the appearance of particularly American tanks in World War Two, Vietnam and so on.

Anyway, the modelling took maybe 6 hours, whilst the painting racked up a good 15 hours more. On top of my more usual effects I added chipped paint marks for the first time. Something I didn't want to overdo, as many models with the technique I've seen go overboard with far too many of them, but then ignore the inevitable resultant rust from that damage.

My marines make extensive use of Latin motto's and graffiti. Also, this tank has scored three kills...
Part of the reason for all the kit on the turret is to stop it looking ridiculously small. In fact, nice as the new Predator model looks, if you dissect it from an engineering and tank design standpoint it makes no sense at all; there is no room for suspension on the centre track bogie, therefore it must be a fixed axle - very uncomfortable for the crew, and anyway, where do the tracks actually go? There's no room for them what with that hatch in the way...

As an added bonus, the weapon stations are interchangeable, allowing more options from one model; this was done with the ingenious use of magnetic strip, though if doing it again, I'd use 'Rare-Earth' magnets for a more solid hold.

Overall, I'm very happy with the result.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Dwarfy goodness

So, here is the output of my last six weeks of painting:

124 figures and two war machines:

Battle for Skull Pass (BFSP) Cannon:
£2 Catapult and crew:
BFSP Thunderers:
Another of same, plus two metal classics:
BFSP Warriors:
A mixed bag of plastic Dwarfs, upto 22 years old! Plus a classic metal leader:
Longbeards; £8 at a show:
Hammerers, shamefully bought new:

BFSP Miners, plus a classic metal figure filling the ranks:In case your wondering, I picked up a second sprue of BFSP plastic Dwarfs from ebay some time ago, along with a third group of Thunderers. This helped keep army costs down and numbers up!

BFSP Slayer; a weirdly posed and proportioned figure if ever there was one:
Runesmith, came free with Longbeards, what a bonus!:
My Lord:
Paint job was overall configured for speed, so it's all done with layers of highlights; a method I find allows me to rattle through uniformed troops in no time. I don't like exaggerated highlights, but the flash on the camera has made some of these look particularly flat. I'm urged to try the new GW washes, and may just give them a try soon; but in the past true washes and inks have not suited me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And now, with pictures (again)

As promised, and might I add, to my relief. Some photo's make a welcome return to the blog. Here are a couple of snaps from my game on Sunday. A bit of a teaser to show my new army too. The first two images are from the end of turn one, wherein my right flank was moving to address a threat from my opponents Goblins.

My Left was facing down an advance by three large units of Orcs, although my cannon was having a ropey start, the unit of Dwarf muskets was laying down a lethal hail of fire, which broke the key enemy units before they reached us.

Here it's the end of turn my turn six. The Orcs had been locked into combat by the stubborn artillery crew, meaning that even when my units broke, they couldn't pursue, and being Dwarfs, we inevitably rallied. The reformed gun line picked off the remaining threat to the left flank. Whilst away on the Right Flank, a unit of warriors and a unit of Miners were busy encircling the last of the Orcs.
A resounding victory, and photographic proof at last!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Two nil!

Well, I was going to post some photo's today, but fate has conspired against me. Nevertheless, I have the pleasure of reporting yet another win over the weekend. This being the all the more unlikely prospect of a win with a new army.

My Dwarfs were fielded for the first time yesterday, and managed to shoot an Orc and Goblin army to pieces as it tried to get into a fight with me. We didn't go through the indignity of points, but as he'd lost all but two units, whilst I still had every unit I started with, and less than 20 casualties. It was a safe bet my margin was substantial!

Good news. And, in the next few days, pictures again. I swear!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Harsh economics - are they taking you for a ride?

No wargaming for the last ten days for me, there's been and is still ongoing an awful lot of wedding/stag do/birthday party activity over these supposedly summer weekends to keep me busy. On another note, the intention to return to the Alps for at least one more season has been confirmed between me and the missus.

Nevertheless, that doesn't stop one formulating future armies; even if there is nowhere to put them. Coming very close to the completion of my Dwarfs (photo's soon I swear!) I casually pondered another army for 40k. In reality it's little more than wishful thinking, in truth if I want a 'new' army for that I should just pick up the latest army book for either my Eldar or Orks, the latter of whom are apparently now a kick ass army!

Anyway, my musings were inspired by a link to Battlefield Berlin: German (ooh, who'd have guessed?) operation that does distinctly Teutonic SCI-FI figures, blatantly designed with 40k in mind. One army I'd occasionally fancied for 40k was Imperial Guard (twenty years ago they were my most numerous 40k figures, some 50 of them. Now all sold.) so these seemed quite interesting, offering a distinct twist on the standard fare. I casually priced up a basic platoon.

And here we reach our point, prices.

No one who reads this blog really needs telling that 'fantasy' figures are more expensive that 'historicals' do they? Well, here goes anyway, I think the extent ofd difference may be intriguing.

Having priced up the 'Berlin' figures, I went and did the same exercise for several essentially identical make ups of forces. Each went along these lines:

  • Two senior officers
  • A HQ squad of five figures
  • Two infantry squads with support weapons, totalling twenty figures
  • Three heavy weapons and crewmen

That totalled a modest 33 figures and 3 cannon/mortar type items.

The prices I came too in order of cheapest first were as follows:

  1. Citadel Imperial Guard Catachan Jungle Fighters boxed set (no senior officers but two bonus war walkers) - All Plastic £50
  2. Bolt Action Miniatures (40 figures in total) WW2 equivalent set up - All Metal £51.50
  3. Battlefield Berlin - All Metal €117, approximately £90
  4. Forgeworld (a GW sidearm) - All Resin £146

What is staggering, is that however pricey we may think 28mm historicals are these days, they are bargains when compared to the 'gouging' of fantasy gamers. The plastic Citadel models have several advantages, but compared to a prestige range of 28mm Hisrtoricals the saving of 150 pence is not one of them. By contrast metal incurs a hefty price of around £2.50 a figure; and Resin? well, I'll let you figure that one out.

This is all the more incongruous when you realise that SCI-FI and fantasy gamers considerably outnumber the Historical community of gamers. The law of supply and demand would therefore suggest the WW2 figures should be the most expensive as they cater to a specialist market with lower margins for the manufacturers. Off course if it were that simple...

Apparently other factors are at play here. Even a very small company like Fire Dragon Foundry: produce custom moulds for gamers or small businesses that work out to around 30p per figure (for 28mm), so for large outfits, especially a behemoth like GW that cost must be smaller still? Plastic moulding technology is a different matter, sure, it is more expensive, but it's getting cheaper every day, Rendera and their work with The Perry’s and Warlord Games highlight that. No, it seems that Fantasy figure companies can apply their own rules, and more especially believe in the Inelastic Supply model of economics applying to their business:

At the other end of the scale, sculptors working for historical companies get paid a pittance (I should know, I been paid that pittance many times for vehicle masters). And most Historical figure company owners are either hobbyists, or making at best a modest living out of the hobby, only the big players are really coining it in, and they still don't need to charge silly money.

How long will that last though?

I will not presently be starting an Imperial Guard army, it seems.

Monday, July 07, 2008

101 and 105

Last post was my hundredth post, and it passed by without a mention; by me at least, I doubt anyone else would have noticed. The fact I can count my hits in thousands is gratifying, especially as for some unknown reason, that figure seemed to double whilst I was out of the loop; how many readers that boils down to is anyone's guess, but there must be a handful, so thanks for that too! 100 posts was a milestone I'd meant to celebrate, however, as it actually represents effort on my part; so hooray for me.

So what of the 105 then? Well you may guess that relates to the painting factory that is the corner of my lounge. Although I have effected my ratio by buying 9 more figures from eBay. I nevertheless manged in my first month of painting to turn out 105 finished models, mostly Dwarfs for my new army. The aim is to have a 2000pt legal force completed by mid July, presently I guess I've got around 1800 points, and need just one more big unit and a couple of characters to finish it up to that level.

Personally it's enthusiasm taken to extremes for me. I'm fairly sure I'm spending too much time painting in favour of other things I need to get done right now. But at least as far as the painting pledge is concerned, I'll have a substantial buffer built up!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

One in a row!

Well, practicalities, or lack thereof at home mean I still can't bring photo's to the blog; and I'll admit this has caused the article rate to slow down significantly. I hope my readers are patient enough to stick with me on that count and weather the process of resolving it.

Nonetheless, gaming goes on, and last night was a significant first for the year for me. I won a game.

Now competitiveness should not in my opinion be the sole raison d'etre for wargaming. I have been following with interest on this a bitter and and at times way off the point discussion on about essentially whether Warhammer is a game or a hobby: or to be more precise whether it is pushing toy soldiers around for fun, or in some peoples opinions tantamount to a sport. I'm firmly in the school that you should be able to enjoy the game regardless of the result; and yet, we all like to be winners sometimes. Regular readers will recall my extended losing streak last year, well over twelve games in a row; though that is not to say I played 12 games I wished I hadn't bothered with in a row! Anyway, this year started badly so to speak, after my 5 month sabbatical from work and gaming I proceeded to lose five more games. Before finally overturning the trend last night.

Now without wanting to take anything away from either my victory or my opponent, it was against my old adversary Chris; so I had a good idea what to expect tactically from him. It was a modest sized game of 40k, with me fielding essentially this force:

Epistolary Librarian
Chaplain in Terminator armour with 5 Terminator guard
6 Tactical marines
6 Tactical marines
6 Scouts
6 Devastators with 2 plasma cannons
1 Assault configured Dreadnought

Now consider that this was the same army I had used two weeks previously at the Leeds Night Owls, and had it served to me on a plate; so I wasn't expecting much. Conversely Chris went with what I thought looked a surprising Blood Angels force.

Chaplain with 5 Death Company
10 Assault marines
10 Assault marines
10 scouts with a mixture of weapons
5 scouts with sniper rifles
2 Land speeders

The terrain setup randomised itself into a fairly even table with three major features in each flank and a field complex in the centre. However for both side the central deployment areas were devoid of cover, thus forcing both of us to split our forces. The recon mission implied advancing as critical, but fearing his mobility I deployed to cover and set up a gun line, I'd rely on my Terminators teleporting in to seize ground. Strangely Chris deployed several of his units in exposed positions, notably one unit of assault marines and the land speeders. It was a costly gamble on winning imitative I guess, however I won that and proceeded to put withering fire down on to them. One speeder destroyed, one disarmed and four Assault marines, two scouts and a Death Company trooper bit it in the first volley.

Chris withdrew!

That came as something of a surprise, and on my second turn left me with little in the way of targets. The scouts as a result got another pasting, along with the Death company. Chris rallied and seemed to realise that he wasn't going to win a shooting match; but the withdrawal had cost him vital time and inertia. In my third turn the Terminators arrived, and proceeded to put to a fiery death Chris' scouts. My troops were brave enough behind them to advance a little, whilst the Dread made leftovers out of more Death company. On my right flank the enemy Assault marines reached the Devastators, starting a long grinding match. But on my left their charge fell short, leaving them hanging out to dry.

The terminators, one squad of marines and my Librarian all advanced on the Assault team on my left but my combined shooting was enough to force them to withdraw, in other close combats, Chris' chaplain was squashed by my Dread, but he addition of my scouts to the melee on my right could only delay the inevitable there.

However, Chris' forces elsewhere were blown and in general disarray. The last of the death company died, and pursuing fire eliminated the other assault team. At game end Chris only had 1 marine and a badly damaged Speeder left; I'd lost just thirteen men.

So a win, mainly I feel due to the polar opposites of the forces working in my favour on this occasion, and the admitted tactical gaffes of my opponent. But a win none the less. Chris had hoped to scout me out whilst assault squads picked off my mainly defensive troops, but sheer firepower held him back. His was a light mobile force, that simply couldn't handle several key aspects of mine after losing the big guns on its' Speeders.

Elsewhere the club was ticking along with most members involved in an aerial combat game, but with an Ancients game and a medievals game (using the new Fields of Glory rules) underway. After this I felt more positive about the Wednesday club, and feel that in combination with the Night Owls on a Sunday, may make for a reasonable diversion whilst I'm in the UK.