Oldhammer Goblin Unit & Boss (for KoW)

Today’s update shows off an “Oldhammer” Warhammer Goblin Unit made up of 2nd-3rd Edition models, almost entirely sculpted by Kev Adams back in the day and based on Rounds and turned into a KoW regiment by virtue of some blu-tac and a movement tray. These figures have been painted over quite a few years, with many painted 5-10+ years ago, a couple last year, and the last stragglers done in the last few weeks as part of my “finish those bloody things” drive. I’ll show them off in threes to start with.

Oldhammer Citadel Goblins, Marauder Goblin

Oldhammer Goblin Command Group

The command group of the unit (not that these things matter in the new edition of KoW, but I digress). The leader is “Kleaver” from the Goblin Battle Chariots box set with the addition of a Marauder Goblin Shield. The rest of the crew also found their way into this regiment. I think I started painting them to add to the chariots, which I never got painted and slowly faded into the depths of time. I’ll have to do something about those sometime soonish. Perhaps they can have some plastic crewmen?

Oldhammer Citadel Goblins, Marauder Goblin

Rear View of the Goblin Command group.

The other two are simply command figures from the late 1980’s, probably painted sometime in the 1990’s. I didn’t feel a need for a flag or pennant. Not all standards are giant flags, after all. I gave the musician a Nine Inch Nails back tattoo, since as a gobbo musician he’s clearly really into his industrial music. The leader got a red hood to make him really pop, especially given his chainmail coat and plate boots take away a lot of the opportunity to add colour and interest.

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Oldhammer Goblins

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Rear View of the second trio of Oldhammer Goblins

The next three feature two more from the 80’s command figures – the mod-posed figures are a Champion, a Leader and their cohort is a regular goblin from ’91. Though I think he looks like the sort to be a unit champion with his cute little glaive.

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Three more Oldhammer Goblins. Two were originally Chariot Crew

Two of these three also came off the chariot sets mentioned earlier. The centre spear and hammer. Clearly the “red” spear is a close relation to the Hammer, and no doubt that helped me decide to paint the pair of them at the same time. All three of these were originally painted in the 1990’s…

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Updated Scale Mail and Shield


…and then the two on the outer were “re-finished” this year. The copper and Bronze scale mail were originally red, and purple. Hideous, you might say? Yes. The shield was originally absent entirely – just a shield boss sticking out of the back of the figure, painted black – so I decided to add a shield. I went for a leering goblin face design. I’m not entirely happy with it, but it falls under “good enough” for me. I could spend time trying to figure out why I’m not satisfied with it, or I could just move on and do a better job on the next freehand shield. So I’ve chosen the latter.

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

A variety of Oldhammer Goblins – Perry, Olley and Adams.

These three are a little more interesting. The first goblin, with the hammer and net is an early slottabase figure, from the C13 Small Goblins range, circa 1985-ish. I haven’t managed to find this specific figure in the catalogues, but it looks to be the same style as figures like “Spear Thruster“, so possibly/probably sculpted by the Perrys. This one was entirely painted recently, and while I’m not super happy with how his musculature came out, the head is fine, and the mohawk was a fun old-school touch.

The other two figures were also painted years ago. The middle figure is one of Bob Olley’s Iron Claw Goblins from 1988. It’s from the same range that the recent Fanatics I shared came from, and he was probably even purchased in the same blister that they came in. I went for something entirely different on his shield, trimming off the edging and painting it in a kind of pseudo-3D goblin moon-face style. Why is the moon red rather than yellow? Probably so it’d stand out more against the green of the goblin’s hide. Dunno. It was an experiment, after all. That’s what the more individual metal models did for me back in the day, before mass plastics were the norm. I liked to experiment with a lot more of my models’ paint jobs, even if it meant that they lacked a unified unit look. The final figure, another of the late-’80’s “champions” also had a shield experiment.

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Old, Oldhammer Goblins.

The narrative to that figure, if you will – is that he painted his shield himself. I always wondered how brutal creatures like Orcs and Goblins, who had brutal and crude weapons and armour always had such fine, delicate and artistic designs on their shields, banners and gear. I decided to paint this guy’s shield as though he’d painted it himself. [See boxout above] Recently. The skull is crude and simple. The blue (and red) paint is messy and spattered everywhere (including on his clothing) and the paint had also pooled at the base of his shield, leading to a mess on the metal where it was leaning on the ground in a pool of paint. Cast yourselves back to your Primary/Elementary School Art Room, and you’ll feel the inspiration for this guy.

On the backside of these three, both the Iron Claw goblin and the art-school candidate had their clothing repainted. Iron Claw boy lost his garish purple and yellow 1990’s tunic and skirt while The Artist’s blue scale mail was repainted in a bright copper.

Oldhammer Heartbreaker Goblin

Heartbreaker Goblin Leader.

Are Heartbreaker miniatures “Oldhammer”? Technically probably not since they were sculpted after Kev Adams left GW’s employ, but then again their aesthetic follows the 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy look and feel quite closely. This guy is still available today from Ral Partha Europe/RPE as part of their range of Kev Adams Goblins. I should buy some more of them sometime, but at 2 quid a figure by 12 or 24, that comes to £24/48 or a little shy of AU$50-100 for one unit, which is a bit hard for me to justify to myself right now. I just wish they had discounted unit prices for sets of 10 or 20. Basically, they’re super-cheap for heroes and unit leaders but it adds up quickly if you want to build whole units. (Though they’re probably still cheaper than whatever GW is charging for plastics these days!) Still, this guy is a great figure and for only 2 quid, an easy and easily-justified purchase.

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Heartbreaker Goblin showing why *HE* is Da Boss.

I thought a size comparison would be apt to show how much of a meat axe this guy is compared to the other Warhammer Goblins. And now, The Unit Shots!

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Oldhammer Goblin Regiment for Kings of War – Front.

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Figure Placement within the regiment is important. I wanted to show off the red shield by not hiding it in the midst of the unit.

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

This side shows off “The Artist’s” shield, and the very old mid-80’s goblin.

Oldhammer Warhammer Goblins

Rear views are usually the least important in many ways, but back-mounted shields make sense from a thematic standpoint as well as an aesthetic one.

Thoughts and Reflections: Lords of the Fallen (PS4) – and other “Souls” Games

First up, an admission – I’ve never really played any of these “Souls” type games. I bought the SE of Dark Souls on PS3 years ago but couldn’t handle what I felt was the “loose” controls and put it down forever after less than an hour of play. Turned out later that the “loose” controls were simply the crappy DualShock3 sticks when compared to the superior 360 controller that I was so used to (I played most of my last-gen stuff on 360, due to it being the better console of the two – just as this-gen I’ve moved over to the PS4 – and yes, I own all four and no, I have no fealty to either faceless multinational company.)

So Dark Souls 1 on PS3 went back into the backlog pile, and has been there ever since.

Still, in the intervening years, I’ve read an endless stream of people praising these games to the high heavens and always kept one eye open towards having a go again at some stage. I tend to play games on easier levels these days – and that’s basically because I have a lot of video games, can afford to buy lots of video games, but between work, painting models and my other interests, I simply don’t have huge blocks of time to play video games any more like I did when I was younger and in school. I also have eclectic tastes, and like a lot of different stuff (as you can see with the model collection) and tend to like to buy too many games, so I like the idea of playing through a game to see and experience it, then moving on to the next one. I generally don’t have the time or inclination to spend 50 or 100 hours on one game when there are so many others around to play, so from that perspective, easier (or at least not brutally difficult) tends to be better.

The guy who killed the game for me.

So with this as the background, I picked up Lords of the Fallen late last year. It looked very pretty in all of the pictures and previews. It was on sale for a good chunk less than it’s release price, and happened to be the Limited Edition pack with a few extras, and it turns out that it had sold well (!) enough that months later I even got the pre-order bonus code for another extra. Reviews of the game tended to talk about how it was a kinda-“Souls-lite” and “a bit too easy” – and while that tended to be a criticism, it was usually written by people who clearly played a shit-ton of Dark/Demon’s Souls and were well-versed in these games. I figured that this might be a good entry point for myself to this style of game, so I picked it up and onto the pile it went.

Now I have some time off work, and so I decided to install it and give it a run.

Well. I lasted less than an hour. When I turned off the PS4 I was tempted to eject the disc and snap it in half. Instead I put it in the case and threw that across the room, where it bounced off the couch and landed next to me, unharmed.

Basically, I loaded it up, fought the first tutorial-guy. Started to figure out how to play by killing a half-dozen blind “trainer” mobs, killed one “warrior” mob, then was thrown into battle with a Boss: The First Warden. My character, who controls ponderously got the living shit kicked out of him, over and over. I had already wanted to save the game to get back to before I’d even gotten to him (I often play games in small 20-min chunks, going back and forth between a game and my paint desk), so when I found that I was essentially in a death loop, I became more and more frustrated and eventually cracked up and turned the game off.

Another view of the guy who ended the game.

So what’s my point?

Basically, it seems that unless you’re already one of the converted, or love being brutalised by games and have an awful lot of free time to spend getting good at this genre, there’s no real entry point to these games for the rest of us. The usual internet feedback by the moron classes would tell me that I’m just butthurt because I’m bad at games. I’d partially agree. There are lots of games I’m not good at. I’m no RTS wizard, and never got into Starcraft properly. I don’t have the skills to rank up high in AoEII. I never learned to fly particularly well in any of the Battlefield games, and I’m no twitch-headshot master in CoD.

But other games and aspects I got bloody good at. Sometimes easily, but usually after a non-frustrating chance to develop my skills. In Lords of the Souls, I’m not good. And I am butthurt. I’m further annoyed by the addition of two sets of paid DLC: The Foundation Boost and The Arcane Boost – at three bucks apiece, their description states: The DLC package contains 2 special resource cards which can be redeemed for a small boost to help Harkyn get started. The resource cards are of course consumed on use, so if you decide to go for a second (or third) playthrough, you’d theoretically need to buy them again. I just feel that it’s quite dirty, expecting new and inexperienced players (ie the ones who will most likely need these boosts) to pony up an additional three/six bucks to get started.

Especially in light of that DLC, I’m rather pissed off that as a new player, there’s no opportunity to learn the game a bit more by fighting “normal” enemies, and that it’s going to take me an hour or more of ponderous, un-fun gameplay to get past the first boss, and I’m probably not going to bother investing that much time into something that’s not actually fun, so ultimately it’s been a waste of my cash.

And if this is the “easier” cousin to Dark/Demon’s Souls… well, I’m simply not ever going to bother with trying this genre again. And that’s the shame.


Edit – I’ve gone back to the game and given it some more time… and… well, I still stand by everything I wrote earlier. I killed and killed and re-killed one of the few guys that were upfront before the boss over and over before going back in to fight him after each death, and he dropped a fancy Bardiche (I think the game calls it an axe of some kind). With the additional reach, and the additional of cowardice and running away I eventually defeated the first, cheap boss. Not until after watching a YouTube video where the YouTuber went on about how easy it should be for everyone playing the game for the first time to defeat this first boss without being hit at all. /sigh

Shortly afterwards, I figured out how the exp system works in the game and spent some time going back and forth between the game and my goblin fanatics – essentially treating the game almost like a Roguelike. Kill some mobs, get some exp, buy a skill or stat point. Kill the same mobs, get some exp, buy a skill or stat point. Die a bunch, but essentially killing resetting and farming the mobs in the initial area (and the hidden cellar) like the bad old days when we used to claim multiple camps in EverQuest for an old-fashioned exp grind. Only instead of auto-attack doing the work, it’s a chop, chop, dodge instead. With a bunch of slow healing throws in for good measure. Just like caster soloing in EverQuest and meditating, come to think of it.

I’ve just gotten past the second boss, and did it in the super special sekret way (no blocking) to get the special reward of a better version of his shield. Not sure how much “skill” is involved in auto-lock and circle-strafing the boss to get a few whacks in when his guard opens up and quaffing the odd potion. While Marouda wouldn’t be able to do this, I’m not sure it’s an especially good marker of being “good at games” or “bad at games” – not that those titles are an especially useful marker of anything.

So at this point, my opinion has changed slightly. The game is awful to start with. I’m also not convinced that a throwback to EQ-style mob grinding to level up is an ideal mechanic, though. For those unfamiliar with EverQuest and mob grinding. Check out the South Park World of Warcraft video instead. It’s the same thing.