Thursday, April 28, 2011

They Think it's all Clover...

Time and ingenuity will allow me to circumvent any problem, even if it is rather laborious. Consider the following a teaser for better things to come; but folks, we have images!

Well one, and it's a little blurry, but it is from my mobile phone!

Obviously there has been a lot of time for painting in the last month, what with not being able to spend time on the internet of an evening pursuing all the time consuming junk the web generously provides. Some of that time has been spent on completing my Anima Tactics models. I now have a respectable team of 250 levels assembled.

Sophia Ilmora was already part finished for my game a few weeks back , but I completed her after the game. Added to that I managed to pick up another Type 005 and the Black Sun leader, Clover. Both of these have just been completed.

Clover in particular was a challenge, trying to get smooth highlights (which I know you can't see yet; better photos will follow in time) on the clothes and working on the fine details. The sculptors make no concession to painters, the work here is in scale and dazzlingly fine. sadly I did cock up the coat in one fairly obvious spot. On quality photo's it seems really obvious so I may go back and try to touch it up.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with these, and have a game lined up to try them in too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quick updates - A trip to the Shops

Well, I'd like to be able to say more but it is just a post to keep things ticking over really.

a few quick notes from the last few weeks.

Laptop obviously is still in't shop under repair. So no photo's, this has meant a lot of time for painting, so much so that last night I actually sacked the painting off as I was bored of it - that's a rarity. I've managed to get my old car running (not unlike a Lancaster bomber on three engines, perennially limping home) and so at least have made it out for a couple of games, which has helped with the sanity.

I got over to Halifax Modeller's World at the weekend, and saw several items of interest. Firstly the latest Zvezda 'Art of Tactic' WW2 kits; I picked a couple of 1/72 scale items, and must say for the price they are amazingly good.  But the real winners will doubtless be the 1/100 scale tanks and 1/144 scale aircraft; perfect for Flames of War. A quick bit of research shows that Art of Tactic was originally released last year as one of those installment style magazines in Russia, so all the models promised for the range are actually ready to go. Look them up, it's good stuff.

I also found an item in the Vallejo paint range that I'm itching to try, Liquid Putty, a paint on filler for seams and cracks in models that can be worked like epoxy putties. Useful.

Less impressive was the Wargames Factory output, Orcs, Amazons and Persians were in stock, but in ugly as sin boxes and with inflated prices. Not impressed, I think the company is really in trouble, the new product looks second class compared to the other manufacturers out there.

Well, that's all for now folks; bear with, normal service will be resumed soon I hope...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Games Workshop to shelve metal Miniatures?

Rumours are rife on the forums of late about Games Workshop discontinuing the manufacture of metal miniatures entirely. The essence of the argument seems to be this, pewter alloy is simply too expensive nowadays for GW to support it, and less certainly that some new wonder material is about to be revealed as the solution to model making.

Certainly it would not be the first time that GW have stated their aim to move towards all plastic manufacture of models, but as experiments like the plastic Empire generals and Orc warbosses showed, there was not enough retail appetite for this route to make it viable. Showpiece monsters, war engines and the like have benefited hugely from computer aided tooling and injection mould creation, it's hard to imagine something like the latest Skaven and forest Goblin monsters coming out in metal at an affordable price, but for single models it is still it seems an economic dead end.

Of course the other familiar material for moulding is resin, typically (and I'm no chemist) a two part epoxy, which is normally drop cast. Forgeworld use this, as do many specialist fantasy retailers, not to mention innumerable historical companies and scenery makers. Unfortunately, it is brittle, prone to imperfections, comparatively expensive, and crucially cannot really be spin cast or injection moulded. So that is out.

New polymers are out there though; Mantic and others have found a material, termed variously a plastic or resin, which can be spin cast and is somewhat more resistant to damage than traditional resin; I've yet to try these models myself, but have only heard generally positive reviews.

So what might GW opt for and what would it mean for the hobby? Well Games Workshop certainly remain the largest player in the industry, and so can afford to invest in new technology and future solutions, so I can believe they may have put research funds into a replacement for metal, but lets be honest, whilst metal is expensive, plastic is a by-product of oil, so it's hard to imagine that getting much cheaper either. Still there could well be options out there. Talk has been open on the forums in speculating on new polymers or new uses of old ones; the key of course is for them to hold the level of detail that metal does, and ideally allow the use of established moulding equipment. If GW is successful, I'm sure other manufacturers will follow in time.

Metal won’t go away however, GW may wish to eliminate it from their business model, but virtually every other manufacturer will carry on with it. The costs are lower and certainly have some way to go to reach a similar tipping point; for comparatively low volume work it is hard for me to imagine the comparatively low production overheads of pewter casting not remaining a strong argument to most historical figure companies, and many smaller fantasy companies. They are not selling toys, and can tolerate a small premium for their preferred material.

Never mind not having the backing or infrastructure to invest millions in new technology.

But for GW this 'could' be the biggest gamble since the late 80's, when they sold off masses of metal stock in an effort to fund their investment in plastic tooling. That gamble paid off, and as a result there hasn’t been a sale since. Who knows if an end to metal production entirely will work for them this time?

The rumours still need to become facts of course...

Monday, April 04, 2011

Yet again, an unavoidable silence

Too Much Lead is in the wars, figuratively anyway.

This weeks minor crisis as been some filthy virus infecting my home PC and making all use of the Internet impossible since Tuesday.  This has curtailed all efforts to maintain normal operations, and yet there is so much to record!  Aside from gaming and painting projects, I have news on two new club moves and some other new projects to report.

But I can't, until my poor sick PC is saved!

Normal service, will I assure you be resumed soon.  A deluge of posts shall be forthcoming once everything is back on line.

Stay tuned!

(Update: My IT expert informs me the damage is terminal.  The hard drive is to be reformatted and life can move on!)