This week, Alex and Kelly wax poetic on Terry Dodson’s take on Spider-man.
What gaming experience would be complete without having to fight some Nazis?
These are from Warlord Games, who convinced me to buy into Bolt Action at Gen Con this year. I haven’t had a chance to play the game yet, but I do have other uses for tiny nazis coming up. Muh-ha-ha.
I finally got most of a day to devote to painting. I started a few projects…
Someday I will finish something.
I think the most delightful thing about the Ork army is it’s heavy choices. I so want to do up a car in the Ork style and drive it in a demolition derby while shouting “Waaagh!”
In any case, I’m currently finishing up three Killa Kans.
This is also my first attempt at adding battle damage to my models. You can see it best in the next photo.
You should be able to see along many of the sharp edges, it looks like the paint has been ground off, leaving naked steel underneath. This effect is done cheaply by running a #2 pencil over the raised surfaces.
In the last two years, I’ve poured a lot of time and money into this wargaming
habit hobby. Now is a good time to examine the “state of the hobby” and where I want to go from here.
When I started the hobby in earnest, like many people, I jumped in with both feet in a huge rush of zeal. I started a Warhammer legue at a local game store, built 5 Warhammer armies, started playing Firestorm Armada, Warmachine and Flames of War. I started making plans to get deeper into historical miniatures from the Napolionic era. I wanted nothing less than to be completely committed to each and every game that had toys I needed to build and paint.
Then the tide of enthusiasm started to roll back a bit. I grew uncomfortable at my local game store. Bad behavior from some my fellow gamers skeezed my out. I began to feel frustrated at the amount of models and games that I had collected but had no time to work on. I found myself taking less joy from the hobby and spending most of my time with it just worrying about how I would get everything done.
Still, at no time did I imagine giving it up. The draw of taking these wonderful games and making them my own is powerful. What I needed to keep myself sane was to manage my own expectations. I had to accept what I could do with the time I had. I hosted games in my home, rather than at a game store, which gave me the ability to control my environment. I could dictate the people I played with. After shedding many of the models that I likely would not be able to get to for a number of years, I had a much more manageable looking pile of projects. Eventually, I found more like-minded people to play with. A slower, deeper enthusiasm for wargames took shape.
Now, I am wondering how to move forward. In the coming few years, time is going to be tighter. I’m starting school again, committing to my career, and working out in earnest. I won’t be able to casually spend long evenings at the workbench. Justifying 4-5 hours on a Sunday afternoon to play with toy soldiers is going to be harder to do with schoolwork due or a job calling.
Here are some of my options.
Switch to something smaller. There are smaller scale “skirmish” games that I’ve been interested in. Warmachine and Malifaux are two recognizable names, though I’ve fallen in love with Firestorm Armada, and Hell Dorado has caught my attention. All of these systems provide a satisfying experience with just a few models. I can kick out a fully painted force with a month or so of limited bench time. Then there’s the added benefit that when I ask someone if they want to try this new game, they’re not overwhelmed by mountains of plastic models spread across the table. Rather than having potential players seeing what looks like an impossibly large project, they can look at a tidy arrangement of pretty models and hopefully say “I could do that”.
The skirmish games are not without their drawbacks, though. Getting people interested in games even less recognized than the Games Workshop is an uphill battle. “Hey, you want to come over and try playing Hell Dorado with me? It’s a skirmished based miniatures game where you play a Thirty Years’ War era expeditionary force into Hell for fun and profit!” Hard sell.
Concentrate more of playing, less on building. This is hard for for me, as the greatest joy of wargaming is the creating. It would be beneficial for me though. For all my talk about wargames, I am not very good at playing them. I am not a great tactician. I rely on luck and/or brute force to… well, grind out a draw really. I don’t win all that much. Perhaps my limited time would be more wisely spent focusing on improving my game play. Instead of working on new projects, I can work on getting better at using what I have.
Do a few things very well. Rather than concentrating on a large volume of work, I can focus on putting out only a few things but make them fantastic. When choosing projects, I could steer away from that box of 20 orcs. Instead, work on the ork warboss, but put a month’s work into it. Make it competition worthy. My forces will be small, but it will be obvious I’ve put a lot of effort into them.
Probably, I’ll be doing a combination of these three things in the next couple of years. One thing is for sure. I will continue to grow into this hobby.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, several of us put together an astonishingly large game of Warhammer. This game was 10,000 points per side, with well over 1000 models on the table. Speaking of the table, ours was 14 feet long and even then we barely had room to perform all of our deployments.
The sides were Empire, Bretonnia and Tomb Kings vs. Skaven and Orcs.
While there was a scenario and lots of special rules and tons upon tons of combat, I’m just going to post some of the better photos I had taken to help emphasize the shear size of this game.
Very occasionally, I’ll host a painting day at my place, where I’ll share my minis, paints and tools so that people who might be curious about the hobby get a chance to see what it’s like. This year I was excited to have 10 people over with a wide range of skills. Here are a few of the pieces we worked on.
Some of the games represented (not all pictured). D&D, Dreadfleet, Battletech, Warhammer Fantasy and 40K.
While spending the week recovering from dental surgery I used the time to power through a large handful of projects that have been accumulating on my bench.
My biggest accomplishment was slogging through an entire Light Panzer Company. 23 tanks ready to meet my Polish cavalry!
A few more pieces of my 5000 point Orcs and Goblins list.
I probably spent the most time on this fellow here. This is my character for the D&D game I play with several pals once a month. I pushed myself to learn some new shading techniques I’ve been picking up from the Jen Haley video tutorial. I wish I had taken a better photo to show off, but his cloak, hood and face are done completely without washes, but using a more advanced belending technique. I can see now how using blending creates a much more smooth and subtle shading than just washing and highlighting. I doubt I’ll ever use the technique across an entire army, but it’s pretty nice for individual pieces.
Finally, I painted up five of my GW/Mantic hybrids as Longbeard Rangers. Here there are next to one of the GW models I currently use. I was hoping that using the same palet would allow the two models to work together well in the same unit, but the size difference is a little disappointing. Still, they’re there if I need them, and who’s going to fault a dwarf army for being lumpy looking?
It took me about six hours to go from out of the box to trimmed, washed, scored and assembled. Now I wait a day for the glue to cure before priming. I don’t expect the painting to take more than 12 hours all told, considering that they are mostly one color that I can do that with an airbrush. I intend for this to be my loaner army to help lure people into Flames of War, so I don’t expect to get too hung up on the details.
In the meantime, while waiting for the glue and primer to dry, I threw some paint on my Orcs & Goblins Giant, which finally pushes me to a full 2000 point list. Not a good list, but 2000 points regardless, so I can say I have 2 fully painted armies.
After this, I just reached my hand into my pile of projects and pulled out a box of 20 Mantic dwarfs that I’ve been sitting on for a year now. I got these from Bartertown and was not happy with the fact that they had already been primed with a gloss paint and were missing several pieces. I had wrote them off, but I got ambitious and started digging in the bits box. I’ve got a start on turning these guys into some respectable long beard rangers.