Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Beyond the Gates of Antares - what's in the box?

I made a video the other day showing off the innards of Beyond the Gates of Antares, by Rick Priestly and Warlord Games. For those who don't follow my Youtube channel, here's the vid:


Friday, 18 December 2015

Rebasing some Warmaster minis

My collection of Warmaster Undead is fairly large. I bought a few thousand points worth myself when they were available in the stores and I have picked up a couple of collections since.

One haul netted me figures from two very distinct collections. One set were beautifully painted and based, and the others were... well... less so.

I call this latter lot the Kibble Collection, partly because it looks like they were based with crushed kibble--glued down with a hot glue gun no less. The heat from this and possibly from the modeller wiping the metal part of his or her glue gun on the bases, many have warped and bent and have sections that look like they've been melted.

Perhaps they have journeyed for centuries through the Chaos Warp. The result looks like a dog's breakfast. Hence the name.

Because I have so many minis to play with though, and when we do play it's rarely over 1000 points, I figured it was high time to do something about them. It was time to rebase the Kibble Collection.

Here are the photos of the start of the work. Dave helped me by cleaning the strips after I had mauled them off the bases. He helped me finish them off last night. The next step will be to order some new bases and mount them. Phwoar.


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Shadow Storm - Hail Caesar Fantasy conversion

Someone called Ady has converted Hail Caesar for fantasy. It's not the first, as a friend of mine here in NZ released one a few years back, but this looks pretty good nonetheless.

It's called Shadow Storm and is presented as a PDF which updates/modifies certain sections of the HC rules. And he has army lists. Lots and lots of army lists. Looks like really great work and I can't wait to have a proper read and perhaps try it out to get a game in soon. I'd be angling towards Hail Warmaster. :)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

When was the last time I played Warmaster?

It's been far too long since my last game of Warmaster. Looking at the posts on here, the last one I talked about was just over a year ago! Has it been that long? I'm really not sure. Sometimes time flies. Sometimes we plan on playing games, and may even get to pulling all our figures out, and then just start talking and lose track of time.

Surely I've played since then. No idea to be honest. But Dave and I spoke about it over the last few weeks, and he's moving back to his hometown in a couple of weeks, so we decided to try harder this time. Plus, he painted some Empire knights specially. If you look closely at the minis, he actually hadn't finished painting a full 1000 point force, so he used some of my Dwarfs as stand-ins.

It was nice actually, because we're usually playing Warmaster Undead vs Undead, so this was a pleasant change. Although, we had to try and remember (and find them in the rulebook) the terror rules because we'd been so used to ignoring them before. :)

I didn't take any notes of the game, so this isn't a battle report, but I took pictures of notable points in the game. Warning this is very image heavy.

First, the precursor, pulling out some (yes this isn't all of them) of my Undead before I prepped the table.

We begin...

Painting desk - 13 Dec 2015

Well, here are photos of what's on my painting desk today.

I finished the British redcoats...

Officers

Standard bearers (these will have their hands cut away and have flag poles stuck in them)

And while waiting for paint to dry, I did some work on some of my Citadel miniatures. They were still sitting on my table from the playtest game last week. Not really too much done with these guys.


Just put one layer of highlight on the clothing

Undercoated a couple of minis


...and put a highlight on these guys' jackets

But now I've had to clear the table because we've got a game of Warmaster today.

Oh yeah, and that means I've completed 300 miniatures this year! Achievement Unlocked!



Saturday, 12 December 2015

PANTSOFWAR.COM

A not much of an update....

I registered a domain name, so now you can reach this page at PANTSOFWAR.COM as well as the usual pantsofwar.blogspot.com.

Great huh?

GW History Article

There's an excellent two part article on Unplugged Games covering the history and inception of Games Workshop. The first article, called Games Workshop: the humble origins of a global gaming empire has an interview with Ian Livingstone, and the second, titled Blood, dice and darkness: how Warhammer defined gaming for a generation, has an interview with Rick Priestly.

Well worth reading, and has many insights that I had no idea about, even having bought their toys since the late '80s. First and foremost that Citadel Miniatures, headed by Bryan Ansell bought out Games Workshop, and the main reason they appear to have kept the GW name was because they were too cheap to get new signs for the stores made up.

Chaos Warlord by wiggers123 - http://wiggers123.deviantart.com/
Chaos Warlord by wiggers123
I had always figured (haha geddit?) that Citadel was a subsidiary, not the primary driver. How comfortable that kept me in all these years of blissful ignorance.

I wrote an article recently about GW's reboot of their specialist games studios, and what that meant to me. Since then I've been looking into more of their history and it's led to a few eye-openers. One of the most interesting is that the mass exodus purported to have happened a few years ago, doesn't seem to have been as reported. Many of the people I had assumed to have left still work there in different capacities. Some, like Gav Thorpe, still appear to be working for GW as freelancers, and Mantic Games doesn't appear to have been started or staffed by ex-GW employees.

Whatever the future holds, I think we're now seeing the birth of a new Games Workshop--one which is more in line with what they had planned over 20 years ago with the merger of GW/Citadel brands.

Or will this usher in a new age of chaos?

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Playtesting one of my board games

My friend Dave recently bought Battlesystems' modular cardboard terrain (see the unboxing video on my Youtube channel) and we were hankering to play a game using it. While cleaning out some boxes in the garage I found some notes and test cards for a board game I started developing a year or two ago. It's called Spacejunk: The Forsaken™ and it's a sci-fi game set in my Freejacks™ universe, in which players fight to take control of starships or space stations. One player acts as Game Master (like in a roleplaying game) and the other players take on the role of characters fighting their way through their missions.

The game is a bit of fun that includes rampaging robots, enemies that teleport next to players in the hopes of stopping them from achieving their goals, and waves and waves of spawning enemies.

So we grabbed a few random miniatures I had lying around, gave Dave a mission to shut down a computer allegedly being used to run experiments on mutating captured sentient beings, and he went at it.

Because the mechanics are still in note form, we played with a few ideas back and forth during the game, so there was no real consistency between turns, but I think that it's progressing well. And most importantly we had a lot of fun playing it, so it's a winner already. Not that I'm biased or anything. :)

So here are some photos of the day's excitement.

Almost finished first batch of Redcoats

A couple of weeks ago I posted that I had started a commission of British Redcoats from the American War of Independence. Well, I've almost finished. The main body of troops are done and the incomplete ones are the standard bearers and the COs.


As usual, the owner is going to base them.

These figures are unlike any I've ever painted, and I have to admit that I didn't paint them very efficiently, especially given the basic flat colour scheme. But I was quite worried about getting the pin striping done correctly, and as it turns out, I'm not really that happy with them.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

What's in store from GW's new specialist games studio?

A couple of weeks ago, there was a big flood of excitement about an announcement made by an Australian Games Workshop store, in that they were planning on creating a new specialist games studio attached to Forgeworld. I won't reiterate all the details, as you either already know by now, or you can find it by Googling.

My instant reaction was that if true, it wouldn't last long. Games Workshop have rebooted the specialist game lines several times, but each time it's just a limited thing. And this, post Age of Sigmar, feels like it's just a cash grab. I feel like maybe they're getting desperate to introduce some cashflow.

It's glaringly obvious that Games Workshop are no longer a games company. They are an Intellectual Property (IP) company whose only goal is to make money for their shareholders. Sure, that's what business is about, but it feels like this is what a great many companies are now. The product is incidental, and totally irrelevant. They are cash machines for their shareholders.

So what does an IP company, who are driven only by profits do when they practically annihilate one of their two core products? And I say annihilate purposefully. They need find another source of revenue. Sure they could create new games, but they're not a games company any more. And on top of that, most of the creative people who created all that IP have left and started their own companies such as Warlord and Mantic.

The previous CEO of Games Workshop, Tom Kirby, blatantly admitted publicly that he didn't care what the fans wanted. His goal, of course, was to make money--and as CEO and a shareholder, he had to secure his million dollar annual dividends.


Take note in that document that in the 2014-2015 financial year, GW dividends were paying 52 pence per share. So Mr Kirby pocketed a tidy £1,096,498 on top of his very considerable salary.

So what would I do if I were in GW's shoes, after having destroyed one of their primary sources of income, and watching people (who I had previously admitted I didn't care about) switching over to a competitor's product? Namely Kings of War. Of course, I would go through my extensive catalogue of IP. I would dredge up all those games that many many people around the world love dearly (even though I don't care what they think), and I would dump them on the market again for 6 months, make some more cash, secure next year's dividend, and then reassess in a year's time whether the company was still profitable enough for me to hold onto those 2 million shares, or whether I should cut and run.

It's telling that several sources have quoted the specialist games re-release as a "long term investment" of six months or more. Before reading that I picked that this would last 6-8 months. They'll produce new miniatures, there'll be a surge of excited buying which will dwindle over a couple of months, and then hobbyists will relax comfortable in the assumption that they will be able to buy these games/miniatures at their leisure, GW will see they're not making the sort of profitable returns in the timeframes they were hoping for, and after another couple of months, they'll drop the lines, or at least significantly reduce them.

It doesn't seem to have crossed the current board's minds that the reason many people love their IP, and why they become loyal fans in the first place, is because of the games. Modern GW appears to believe it's just a premium miniature manufacturer, not a games company. Hell, they're even changing the names of their stores from Games Workshop stores to Warhammer stores. It's all about the IP.

The miniatures. The immediate sales. Where longevity is six months.

They don't care about those hobbyists who have been loyal for decades because old fans are not buying miniatures right now. They don't care about people playing their games. It boggles my mind because people playing games are helping to sell miniatures, even if they're not always buying miniatures every week themselves. A hobbyist who plays a game, is loyal to a game, pushes the game among their friends, and plays the game at clubs and tournaments, is part of the support network. He or she is helping build the community that new players need. If a game isn't being played by a community of loyal fans, then it's hard for new players to be introduced to that game, and hence, sales in that area will be lower or non-existent.

If people here in my town all shift to Kings of War at the tournaments and the clubs, then new players interested in miniature wargames are less likely to choose miniatures from a game not being played. They will see gamers playing Kings of War, and they will see the KoW books and miniatures, and they will have the merits of KoW expounded by all the local KoW gamers.

Where will Games Workshop be in all of this?

I don't see how a company that has historically been a games company, with the word GAMES in their name, and who sell miniatures for warGAMES, can just leave the games and the gamers behind. I don't see how they can continue to be successful when they don't care about nurturing and maintaining the loyalty of long-time fans. "Long-time" in the real sense of the word, not in the annual financial forecast sense.

And it really doesn't inspire me with confidence that they will successfully support yet another re-release of their specialist games. My prediction is that GW will produce some miniatures, put them up for sale, not support them or the games in any way, shape, or form, be underwhelmed by the profits, and dump them soon afterward.

What is my stake in this?

Well...

  • Warmaster is possibly my favourite fantasy wargame ever. 
  • I love Epic, but never played it when it was out (due to lack of local support and a playerbase), but have been playing with the miniatures using games like Future War Commander
  • I loved Mordheim--played the shit out of it, and possibly enjoyed it more than Warhammer Fantasy Battle. 
  • I always wanted to play Necromunda, but never did for some reason, possibly because I was more invested in 40K at the time and Necromunda wasn't different enough. 
  • I also played a shit tonne of Blood Bowl over the years. 

There are a great many specialist games that I've loved over the years. But I don't love what the company has become. I refuse to support a company that doesn't care about their most loyal fans... you know, the people who ensured that Mr Kirby is getting his million pound dividends now. They would be nothing without those loyal fans.

And besides that, with so many companies now producing quality miniatures, it's possible for me to buy 10mm fantasy miniatures from other manufacturers like Pendraken, Kallistra, Magister Militum, Eureka, and others, there's no need to buy Warmaster minis from GW.

And if I want to play a 6mm science fiction wargame, I have an even larger range of options, such as Plasmablast Games, Angel Barracks, Microworld, Onslaught Minis, Brigade Models, Darkest Star, Dark Realm Miniatures, just to name a few! Many of which can be had for a fraction of the cost of Games Workshop's "premium" prices.

For 28mm games such as Mordheim and Necromunda, well, there's no shortage of manufacturers there. In fact, you can even get many games for free online.

Start doing some hunting if you haven't already, find a new game, find some cheaper miniatures, and start playing it at your local club. If other gamers see people playing more games and not just one or two overpriced "premium" games, they will be inspired by the hobby. Or you may be able to rekindle that flame in old grognards in ways that Games Workshop haven't been able to.

Ultimately, I think these alleged specialist games re-releases are too little too late. We're at a point in time where their irrelevancy has never been greater. Gamers have so many options for miniatures and wargames now, at any scale they care to choose, that GW's announcement is just laughable to me.

So to answer the question in the title--What's in store from GW's new specialist games studio?

Who cares?

Friday, 27 November 2015

Starting an American War of Independence commission

I've taken on another commission, this time painting 20mm British forces from the American War of Independence. The lot here on the painting table are probably about an 8th of what I may end up painting for the owner.

From a quick search on Plastic Soldier Review, these look to be the IMEX British Redcoats. Although, I'm not sure what happened because the owner doesn't have any of the standard bearers. So there are some of these models that I am going to drill out the rifles and replace with brass rods, which he will add standards to later.



The unpainted models here are the ones that will be converted to standard bearers.

I'm amazed that they didn't need washing before taking paint. I used very thin primer designed for airbrushes at this scale, so it will take a couple of coats, but it's great because this undercoat allows all the detail of the models to come through--especially important for me at this scale.

I was a bit worried because some 1/72 plastic miniatures I've painted before have been so heavily coated in oil that I ended up resorting to the very thick GW Foundation paints. Very glad these took the thin paint so well.

More to come as I progress.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Unboxing Battlesystems terrain and GMT's Genesis wargame

This is my latest Youtube video, which has an unboxing of Battlesystems' 28mm cardboard modular terrain, plus we build some of it up, and unbox GMT Games' Genesis.


Other than that, I recently finished a commission for some 15mm Aliens models (74 of them in total), which I'll get photos of soon and post up, but that's bumped up my high score for the year, and it's been a while since that was updated.

Thanks for checking this out, and sorry I have been lax in posting over the last few months. It's coming up to summer now, so the garage is warm enough for me to sit in.

Please subscribe here and/or my Youtube channel if you like what you see. The Youtube channel will definitely be getting many more videos over the summer break--yes it's coming up to summer in the southern hemisphere. :) There are many other videos on my Youtube channel that don't get posted here, so I encourage you to check them out too. The link is here:

Spiro Dotgeek's Youtube channel

One final note, please check out my friend Mark. He has a long running blog called Kiwi Colour Studio, which is fantastic (he's a brilliant painter), and he's recently started a new blog called The American Civil War in Miniature. This is a period I've always wanted to start gaming in, so maybe now with his inspiration I might get motivated. Even if you're not into that period specifically, he's got some incredible minis that will inspire you, plus he recently did a series on making cornfield terrain. It's really good stuff and well worth checking out.


Saturday, 26 September 2015

First game of Battletech in 20 years!

A couple of friends and I have decided we're going to try and play Battletech again, so we dug out our rulebooks, skim-read them, and figured we were good to go.

The reality is captured here in high res glory, and posted to my Youtube channel (http://youtube.com/c/SpiroDotgeek).


I am expanding my Youtube channel from just comic books to all my geeky endeavours, and a gaming segment is the first of them. Of course, that crosses the streams with this blog, so enjoy.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Pictures of the Hadendowa

As promised a while back, here are some pictures of the Hadendowa I was commissioned to paint. I tried to upload these with the Blogger app on my new phone, but that didn't work very well, so now I'm on the PC. The photos are from the phone though.

Please note that the spears, flags, and bases were not done by me.





I'm hoping to get photos up soon of the other commission, and hopefully even to paint some more miniatures. I've managed to get a job, which I've been busy at for the last couple of weeks, so that's stopped me from getting any painting done lately.

I do have some others I need to do though, so all going well, I'll press on with those soon.

Monday, 9 March 2015

A short update

I've just logged into Blogger for the first time in a few weeks to see what's happening, and realised how long it's been since I posted.


The 6MMRPC is over for me as this week marks the sixth month. While I spent most of it not painting, the time I did spend painting was very very productive, so I'd like to thank Chris and Dave for setting it all up. And for DaveB for setting up the 6MMRPC site tracking our progress. I hope I gave the correct credit where it's due. Apologies if I got it wrong, let me know in the comments and I'll update the links.

I'd also like to congratulate all the participants for joining in and doing so well. It was really good to see everyone's work, and the challenge was just the motivation we all needed, regardless of how far each person got individually.

While the reduction of my own mountain was more like a molehill, it's one more molehill toward victory! I will definitely join in the next inter-blog challenge.

I don't have any pictures to give you just yet, but I'll give you a rundown on what's happened in the last couple of months.

The Greek Hoplites were the last things I painted for myself. I got made redundant at the end of last year (a few days before Christmas), and have yet to find a job. Things aren't looking too hopeful on that front, so I have been busying myself with a few things to try and bring in some income. Part of what has kept me busy is I have started writing a book on comic collecting, and plan to write some fiction soon too. On top of that I have a few games--RPGs, wargames, board games, and card games that I have written or am writing which I hope to start publishing. But because those are not likely to generate much cash, I have been making myself busy with other things.

And I have started painting miniatures on commission. The first batch were some 20mm Hadendowa camelry for a friend, which foolishly I didn't take photos of. He's given me a batch of Taaishi camelry to follow. Here's the box art (not my images):



Another friend is giving me some spaceships and some 15mm sci-fi troops to paint as well, so more work is forthcoming.

Hopefully with a few other things up my sleeve I'll be able to keep paying the bills. And if you're in New Zealand and you want some miniatures painted, let me know. The smaller scales are my specialty and I will do anything from 6mm up.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

20mm Greek Hoplites (6MMRPC Project part 4)

This is my 4th post toward the six month painting challenge. Already 2015 has been far more fruitful than 2014, and possibly 2013 & 2014 combined. Last week I painted 60 20mm Romans, and this week I have completed 94 20mm Greek Hoplites.

I added a counter in the sidebar to keep track of my progress, and as I paint different kinds of miniatures, I might break that down by scale with a running total at the bottom. How do you keep track of the minis you paint? Is there a better way of tracking my progress? I'd be interested in hearing if and how you do it.

Last week I posted a teaser of what's to come by showing this image:


and instead of posting a blow-by-blow account as I did with the Romans, I thought I would just post the completed models. It took me a week to do them, so it's a week's progress. Let me know if you'd prefer photos of the process and next time I'll take photos of various stages.

Anyway, on with the show. Here are the completed models all together.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The First Painted Legion of 2015

2015 has got off to a good start!

Happy New Year everyone. Welcome back, and it's good to see you again. I hope you had a fine holiday, full of fun, festivities, and food. :)

The last half of 2014 didn't see me do a lot of painting, and I joined the 6 month mountain reduction painting challenge in an effort to work myself a bit harder. Well, as you may know, life got in the way, and I even cut down on the wargaming I was doing.

But all that's behind me now, and 2015 looks far brighter--not just because it's sunny on the other side of the windows.

Over the last few days I have completed several 1/72 plastic Romans, so thought I'd post a step-by-step photos. They're very simple flat colour paint jobs and coated with Army Painter Quickshade (breathe) Dark Tone. Yeah, it's a mouthful, but it's great stuff. Lacquer and shade all in one. Unfortunately it's gloss, but I figure I'll either buy a dullcote spray, or just not care. Possibly leaning toward the latter. :) They do look pretty good on the table at arm length--far better than the Warmaster Undead did, but those were smaller and had less variety in their colour scheme.

The Romans look pretty good.

So without further ado, here's stage one: undercoating. I know, stop the presses. It only gets more exciting from here.