Sunday, April 4, 2010

WIP: “et tu, Brutus?”

You may have heard already, but last weekend was Adepticon here in Chicago. I jest of course. I’m sure most people are full to the back teeth with reports, and after action reports, and reports on the reports, and so on…

Indulge me.

One potentially rather strange thing about the whole proceedings, which I’ve not commented upon yet –nor seen anyone else comment upon- was Games Workshop itself. GW was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. There were at least three large reception rooms nearly packed full with people playing GW games, and yet the “official” GW presence was limited to one lonely table at the far end of a corridor. You could reasonably argue that the only thing further from the action was either a one-table tournament for a game with Godzilla monsters smashing buildings and the like (I’ve never seen it before, so apologies to enthusiasts who might know what I’m talking about), or the three small tables for the Warmachine tournament packed into the dead-end of that same corridor. I can’t stress how odd this juxtaposition seemed to me: There were 400+ people playing 40K inside (!!!) a huge ballroom, and just on the other side of the wall, in a dead-end corridor, stood one awkward-looking GW employee (nice guy in a tough spot) trying his utmost to look like the Thunderhawks on his table were somehow relevant. Granted, the Chicago Bunker is only one (maybe two) sets of traffic lights away but, still, the whole vibe was remarkably peculiar.

An old friend of mine has an expression: It’s not that I don’ t like people, he says, I just like them better when they’re not around. And I kind of got this feeling from GW that weekend. At one point, I found myself missing the childish enthusiasm of GW events –quirky things like speed painting competitions, and all the other bread and circus they produce, etc. (although not the “waagh” I didn’t miss that for a moment)- all of which had been lost amidst all the professionalism and maturity of Adepticon. And then I thought, Well maybe not. Maybe I like them better when they’re not around.

I got some news yesterday that confirmed the impression that I’d first gleaned at Adepticon. A friend called. He’s been an employee with GW for seven years and was a manager of his own store up until closing time yesterday. He’d been made redundant, along with another friend from that same shop. This is a guy that has played a pivotal role in my interest in the hobby in general. In many ways, he is solely responsible for putting some ambition behind my (at that time pedestrian) interest in 40K. And there he is now, on the shelf with the rest of the employees that have been bent over a barrel by a corporate culture that could be described at best as mercenary, and at worst as something utterly vulgar.

Well, in the "space that GW was not" stood, instead, a mixed bag of quality and quantity vendors/games otherwise unrelated to the rest of the GW action of the day, and I found this both pleasant and refreshing.

I was able, for example, to spend a decent and quite enlightening amount of time talking to people like Steve Morgan from Warlord Games. And while this may feel like a betrayal to 40K enthusiasts, perhaps even Heresy, I’ve decided to start (among other projects) building and painting a Roman Legion. I’m not even sure yet if this army will ever see the light of day on a tabletop, but I’ve decided to paint it for the very same reason that I got into 40K in the first place: the models are amazing. I can't wait to paint them.

The pinch-kneed fellow comes from Warlord’s Emperors set (he’s listed on the website as Giulio Cesare himself!), but I think for me he’ll represent an ambitious Senator or somesuch. The charming fellow on horseback will be my actual Emperor/General (this one’s listed on the website as Marcus Aurelius, but I intend to find a personality a bit more compelling to my taste). Usually, I “earn” my right to paint characters like the effete, dainty Senator pictured here by painting up droves of infantry, etc, and there will be plenty of that with these Romans; however, I’ve not decided on force organization yet (books are on the way), and as ever my enthusiasm/eagerness won’t let me simply sit this out until I’ve got it all sorted neat and proper. This guy just needs to be painted. Needs. (By the by, I’d taken this photo, and made my Roman decision, before the phonecall yesterday. Heretical, yes. Spiteful, no).

I’ve taken this opportunity to experiment with a gray basecoat. This is a new technique to me, but I see a lot of people here on the internets bemoaning the folly of using black undercoat on important models. So, here goes. Fingers crossed.

I’ve also given him a wash of Badab Black for no other reason than because those same voices from the internet encourage us to do it -I presume for the purposes of both shade and visualization, although I’m not entirely certain on this point.

More to come from Ancient Rome, but please check back throughout the week for a week of meet-and-greet with the Onorevoli, and more Hailed vs. Hated action on Friday.


Joe Gekko said...

I use a neutral grey gesso as primer on metal miniatures. I like the grey simply because I can get good color coverage after only a few highly thinned coats.

I never understood the black wash... after applying a basecoat, you aren't gong to be able to see the highlighting and shading that it suggests, anyway.

Brian said...

It's strange. I know. The only thing I can figure is that they recommend it so that you can see some parts of the model that might have been dulled or otherwise obscured by the basecoat. Still, it doesn't really make sense to me.

I'll be painting this guy soon and showing some photos next week. Thanks for stopping by.

Dverning said...

so that you can see some parts of the model that might have been dulled or otherwise obscured by the basecoat

This. Also, it helps darken the recesses for those painters that don't bother getting their brush into all the deep spots.

And personally, I don't mind black basecoating... if that's the effect I want. Anything that needs to be bright and vibrant gets a grey or white basecoat.

Last... HERETIC! Don't you know that picking up miniatures for non-GW games is just the first step?!? Before long you'll be espousing friendly play, balanced rules or even painting/modelling for the fun of it! Sheesh. :-p

Brian said...

Cheers again for before, Dverning.

Traditionally, I'm all about the Black basecoat. In fact, I felt that I was really pushing to boat out from shore when I first used White... only to find out that Gray is the new, new Black. It's like that for me sometimes. Always one step behind.

The Heresy continues, by the way, as I've just primed (with black) 10 Legionairres this morning...