Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Stranded

Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing The Stranded.

That Guy James. Yes, that one -an absolute star, a genuine all-rounder. This guy (yes, that one) has the kind of talent that ignores modest limitation and that leaves one …well …simply stupefied. He has reached mythological status. Legend.

You may remember That Guy James from the work he did in designing the Killzone cards some months ago. James also designed the "Alacrity wallpaper" that featured so beautifully in both the AdpetiCon  and the Heroes of Armageddon tables. In a wildly generous gesture, James sent me a custom designed Special Operations team of the Dark Eldar variety. Specifically, we discussed the idea of a rogue Harlequin Troupe, which seemed a natural and appropriately thematic manifestation of the Dark Eldar in the special operations arena. Because he is an ace, James went one louder.

That’s right. This one goes to eleven.

James designed a set of cards for the Troupe as a whole, but also for each individual member of the entourage that will accompany the Stranded on their “worlds tour” in-and-around the greater Chicagoland area.

Ladies and Gentlemen … Behold The Stranded:

Harlequin (Team Leader) Troop Master. Medipack upgrade. Brawler upgrade. 68 pts: a Troupe Master without a Troupe. She's a loner and a diva. What follows is her personal entourage of scoundrels and sycophants.

Harlequin. 18 pts. The understudy -a permanent fixture in her Lady's shadow, and someday a potential rival. She loves and loathes the Troop Master with her entire soul and body.

Beast Master. Agonizer. Refractor Field upgrade. 47 pts. I imagine this to be something like the personal toady. In particular he is responsible for her Ladyship's pet...

Khymera. 12 pts. Her pride and joy.

Hellion. 16 pts.The Roadie. He worships the Troop Master, who is not above using this weakness exploitatively and cruelly.

Syren. Agonizer. Smoke Grenade upgrade. 58pts. The Chorus Leader. 
2 Hekatrix Bloodbride. 26pts. The Chorus.

Thank you, James, for having so much talent and for sharing it. Thank you for your kindness.

...check out the suits on the skull behind the Choir Master. Ace!
a note on Killzone: Big Jim and crew (myself included) have been diligently, albeit slowly, working on a revised version of the rule-set, missions, and errata –including quite a few important tweaks to basic team design, new upgrade and theme options, and game mechanics, as well as an entirely new mission generator. This includes two brand new sets of cards that will be available to you… and yes, that guy is already hard at work on them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rule Bretonnia wip

This weekend, the wife and I played House Hunters: Chicagoland Area edition, so little happened on the hobby front; however, I managed some modest progress on the Grand Bretonnian assembly of 2011.

Lamentably, I found myself 7 men at arms shy from my goal of 30 –I tried very hard to squeeze every last spare model into service, and you may note several non-men-at-arms models in the mix. I have been trying to avoid the necessity to order bits or, worse, purchase an entire box just to make up the minimum. My greatest fear, I will confess at this point, is that if I nail down another box I will compulsively increase the number in this unit from 30 to… anything higher than 30.

With another 40 peasant archers on the front burner, the thought of even more peasantry has me reeling slightly. Mass painting exhaustion is beginning to burn me up/out.

But just as the mists of despair gathered and the will to continue began to falter, a bright point of light appeared from a break in the clouds (cue distant trumpets) and inspired perseverance. She is from the P-65 Heavy Metal range by Reaper, and I may very well situate her as The Lady in the army (I have never loved GW’s efforts on this front). She is an elf, Adrielle someone or another, but I have already whittled down her ears and hope to make her suitably ladylike for my brutish peasants. It shouldn’t take much for that gaggle of reprobates.  

I have also recently spotted an interesting model from the Hello Dorado range that may step in as well. We shall see.

Though the weekend was slow, I have some great treats in store this week and next. More soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rule Bretonnia progress

The first 57 peasant archers are done.

This massive crew represents the sum stock of OOP plastics, yet I may try to scrounge about for a few more OOP figures in order to round out various possibilities. I’m looking at you, ebay. After this deluge, I am also considering some “unit filler” pieces (planted arrows and the like) in order to inflate numbers hither and thither before I go blind.

To that end, I recently stumbled upon an old Errol Flynn-looking individual that I should make the champion for one of these units (though I am reluctant to actually purchase said champion in any given unit of archers. The idea seems unnecessary to me). Of course, I also have those defensive stakes to sort through.

In sum, this motley band was painted in two grand efforts of 27 then 30 miniatures apiece… which I must admit is too many for me. The assembly line process was a little bit like agony at times and, I believe, the end result shows the nature of my compromise. Still, if I approached this many figures in a less ambitious manner, I would likely be bogged down for months or years, and my goal is to have this army up and fully functioning before the holidays. I must simply trust to the fact that where they suffer individually, they suffice en masse, and that more deserving attention will be directly elsewhere once the whole mess takes the field.

With regard to that fledgling Bretonnian force, I am determined for the conscription of 30 men at arms, two units of 30 archers (check), and 10 mounted yeomen to represent the minimum showing from Bretonnia’s neglected classes. Obviously, I must the complement the above with a unit of knights and some hero choice or another –still thinking about that end of the equation (suggestions always appreciated).

I promised myself to complete 100 peasants before starting on the knights… and intend to hold myself to that though I am already clamoring for those knights, on whom I intend to spend considerable time and attention to offset the rough, ready nature of these reprobates.

More soon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Top Ten Models.... according to me: #4 the Venerable Dreadnought

I suspect that this particular selection (more than any other) will be both surprising and controversial –that is if a statement of pure opinion and meager blog post about such can be worth genuine controversy.

But let me get right to the matter. Here is what I love about the Venerable Dreadnought:

For the first time in any vehicular assembly, I actually enjoyed myself when putting glue to plastic on this one. I have always struggled a bit for some reason with the mechanical models. I haven’t the foggiest why, but this lamentable deficiency has been with me since way back when I was mashing my way through Airfix models and Nascar plastics (completely true).

Not so with the dreadnought. I was nearly giddy throwing this hulk together. 

In large part, I believe that this was so because of a) the breadth of options allotted for your particular dreadnought and b) the simple, clean quality of those choices. It’s all beautiful and coherent and evocative and lumbering but potent.

The current state of GW prices aside, this model stands in my mind as an exemplary specimen of the company’s investment in nearly every single plastic kit of good taste and ambition: options. options. options.


Granted, and particularly so when considered next to my discussion of posture and sculpting dynamism elsewhere in this series, the dreadnought is a chunk… and yet only five small magnets later and my dreadnought here has more dynamism than all the Star Wars figures that I enjoyed as a boy and, indeed, most other “action” figures until the mid-to-late 80’s. eat your heart out Fisher-Price.

How strange. How utterly unexpected, given the utterly static nature of every other figure on my bookshelves. I do not look for action figure qualities on my tabletop. I do not play in that way. Still, I have a deep investment in the visual end of the hobby and I believe that this model compensates adequately for the fact that it is a series of bricks on stilts. To be sure, the pos-ability actually breaths a bit of life into what might otherwise be statuesque.

So cool. So easy.  

And then the paint. Again, absolute pleasure. Perhaps I am simply stuck in a rut of painting masses of infantry at the moment and thus remember the experience with generous servings of nostalgia, but I genuinely wish all my time at the hobby table was this much pure, simple fun.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blood Bowl League

Although the site has been quiet (see note at bottom), there has been a tremendous amount happening behind the scenes –much, much more of that on the way in good time.

So. As a means of getting back into the rhythm, I thought it best to show one of the most pressing renewed directions of my hobby interest: Blood Bowl. I have heard that tonight marks the beginning of another well-known football league, but that one interests me not at all. 

not. at. all.

You may already know FrozenJoe and Skarvald from their own fame and righteous zealotry -if not, perhaps from their site Wolves for the Wolf God. A little over two years ago (before the birth of Boyzilla), Joe helped introduce me to Blood Bowl. I loved the experience but have not played a game since a dramatic and calamitous loss during the final seconds of the final play in the final match, which seems appropriately conclusive. The rest of that pause can be directly linked to Boyzilla and his diminuitive partner, the Love Blob.
Well. Joe’s not happy to leave well enough alone, and has tirelessly organized a stupefyingly ambitious and brilliant brand new Blood Bowl League. Yes please. I'll have a side order of Blood Bowl with that Blood Bowl.

Here’s the (renewed) Team. I am not sure on the name yet, but for now I will be calling them the Geddy Fooks. In each photo, the lineup reads from left to right.

Fume Bleize (Thrower), Touch McRudder (Cad, Catcher, and Big Fish in Small Pond), Ghives Torquay (Catcher)

The Blitzers: Dash Culpepper, Chillore Bee, Pinzo Salt, Ruud Olefeo

The Linemen: Sy deLiones, Dei Giorno, Tee Keio, Forza B. Strongside

The off-season has been long, dusty, and lonesome, if not entirely restful, but the fans are back, the ice is cold, and there’s that autumn feeling in the air. 

Technically, the team remains undefeated. This could be the Fook’s year. 

More on that soon.

(note: dreadfully so. Apologies. All the usual reasons, none of which I imagine will be so interesting to you as the fact that I am back once again like the renegade master. d4 damager. power to the people …and so on.)