Why do people complain about Games Workshop?

For context, I started writing a reply to ImperialRebelOrk’s post “Games Workshop vs Everyone Else“, but then when I realised that I’d written close to a thousand words in his comments box…. well, I figured I may as well make it into its own post and link back to IRO. It’s like a response video on YouTube. Only possibly less fun. :p

So why do people complain about GW? People tend to complain when there’s something they don’t like, and remain quiet when there is something that they do like. That much is just human nature.  GW has also built up quite a collection of people who love their products, but hate the company. This was common WAY back in the 1990’s and shows no sign of declining anytime soon or probably ever.

This is because:

Andy Chambers, Jake Thornton,

1) There’s obviously a large disconnect between the people in the studio and the suits who run the place. This isn’t any surprise to anyone, but there are a lot of “Workshop fans” who enjoy the product and background, and appreciate the creative people behind them – yet they dislike the company as it exists today.

What morphed from a somewhat relatable (sort-of) hobbyist-run business – especially if we skip the very early days under Livingstone and Jackson, which was a time when GW was completely unrecognisable to use today and move up to when Ansell (of Asgard Miniatures) took over Citadel in the first management buy-out (there’s a lot written about Bryan Ansell – I recommend Realm of Chaos 80’s) to a corporate business that was still sort-of consumer oriented to a much more aggressively corporate and anti-consumer attitude under Kirby (following the second management buy-out). The face has started to turn in the last couple of years with Rountree taking over from Kirby, but there are still serious problems…

2) off the back of 1), It’s become part of the “culture” of “GW fans”. Internet being internet, it becomes a self-renewing attitude when new players come in and discover places like Facebook, Dakka, many other forums and the social norms within. it’s the “cool” thing. Sorta.

Let’s face it – you’ll find this in pretty much any kind of fandom. Star Wars? Marvel? GW particularly has a LOT of “bitter ex” type gamers who just can’t move on and let go. Especially when you mention Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Age of Sigmar in the same sentence.

Not a stealth affiliate link. Just a normal link. Relax.

3) GW hasn’t exactly helped this attitude with various anti-consumer business practices over the decades. See things like their hostile and arrogant attitude towards consumers, bullshit regional pricing (AU, NZ, Japan, etc) with even more bullshit justifications and and endless stream of white knights who appear incapable of critical or even thought –  who simply defend their deity’s every action. The same bullshit you get from Playstation/Microsoft fanbois, nee Nintendo and Sega Fanboys back in the ’90s. The more things change…

Even outside of the non-US/European pricing bubble, the way that they reduced the content/number of figures in boxes while increasing the prices (the LotR range being one of the most egregious examples) is nothing but cynical and eventually led to losses that they very much deserved as fans and player abandoned them. This actually helped the industry as many gamers went elsewhere looking for their games and models, often from companies that had a “friendlier” perception. Note the rise of Warlord games, SAGA, Malifaux, Infinity and many more during this time.

GW also got a bit too aggressive when defending what they felt was their IP. Now, companies do face a “defend it or lose it” situation with intellectual property, but GW took it a few steps beyond by claiming a whole lot of names and concepts that fall very much into the public domain. Roman Numerals? Piles of Skulls? Arrows? The term “Space Marine”? Look up the Chapterhouse lawsuit – or even worse – the Spots the Space Marine case for a lot of detail and information on various things that GW attempted to claim that they “owned.” (links to both below). Failure in the Chapterhouse case is what led to protectable names and terms like “Aelf”, “Aeldari”, “Astra Militarium” and so forth. (did you know that “Eldar” is a term used by JRR Tolkien long before Games Workshop existed? Or that Napoleon had an Imperial Guard long before White Dwarf 110 or so changed 40k’s Imperial Army to the Imperial Guard?)

This ties into the “it’s a business” argument/defence – yes, they’re there to make money – most all businesses are – but there are plenty of ways to make money that do not unnecessarily antagonise your actual customers and fanbase. In retrospect, Tom Kirby’s reign was not a good one. Even the “new GW” is far from perfect, but the bar was honestly set so low by Kirby’s eventual attitude and the damage that it did to the company management and their attitude to their consumers that they currently seem super nice. Over the years (decades, actually) of this mentality becoming increasingly pervasive, 1) and 2) got far, far worse.

They are indeed a lot better now, but they’re still far from perfect or beyond reproach.

Amazingly, NOT perfect in every way to every person.

4) The other side now – You can’t please everyone. This ties into what is called “entitlement mentality”. Look at Kill Team – see how many people in the lead-up  indicated on various forums and discussion groups that because this newly-announced-but-at-the-time-not-yet-played-by-any-one-of-us game contains a specific thing, or doesn’t contain a specific thing that they wanted that “they’re out!” or worse. From “6 exclusive cards” that would be trivial at worst to get hold of – to not having any of a few factions (Assassins and Custodes for example would be worse than Spyrers in OldNecro – and it would make no sense to release rules for Sisters – which you can barely purchase – only to change them entirely to match the new, upcoming range in 6-12 months), lack of new troop models, lack of hero models, potential use of E2B vs lack of new E2B sculpts.. it goes on and on.

It can be hard to match the expectation of perfection that someone creates in their head. Especially since perfection is impossible.

 

5) Culture of outrage. This is again, all over the internet and not exclusive to GW, but people these days online actively look for things to be outraged by as a form of entertainment and social acceptance. Ties heavily into #3 above. Find something you don’t like, then be fucking outraged that a think you don’t like it totally agree with dares to exist. Enjoy your moral superiority until you get bored, then repeat.

OMFG! The Horror!

6) All of that is without getting into people with actual issues – though this often ties directly into 5) above. Like the people (including one specific otherwise-intelligent and prominent YouTuber, rather disappointingly) who got bent out of shape because of those kids’ books being set in the 41st Millennium – because it’s not a nice place as things like Servitors and Black Ships are part of their society and won’t somebody think of the children?

lovejoy3

Ever heard of this place called Earth? Pick any year and I’ll show you some fucking horrific atrocities taking place – also – it’s all real

Oh, the only “resource” being used there is money, and GW has plenty of that right now. Books are written by freelancers, not the design studio. Nothing important is being diverted from that thing that you want them to make so they can write some books for kids. I was a kid when I got into Warhammer as well. You think this is all serious adult content for mature adults? Think again. It’s just toy soldiers with a quality aesthetic and an interesting backstory.

Even worse are the MRA types getting upset because not everyone who doesn’t have green skin isn’t a gruff white male anymore and we can’t have any goddamned fucking GIRLS or NONWHITES shitting up our special (white) boys-only treehouse anymore. The exact same thing is happening with Star Wars, videogames, and presumably comics and other “geek culture” as it goes more mainstream.

This very last group is probably the easiest to ignore, because just fuck those guys.

Here’s the thing, though. Of course, not everyone needs to like everything, and people should feel allowed to express a dislike of something just as much as a like. I have a lot of criticisms of Workshop, and I hardly expect them to be sending me a free copy of Adeptus Titanicus as an “influencer”, but honestly GW do get more than their fair share of criticism in many ways. Much of it is well deserved, but much of it is also just #2/3/4/6 as described above.

Mommy, where did Chaos come from? What about Dark Elves? (not Drow!)

As an aside – someone in IRO’s comments made a point of other companies like Vic Minis etc “ripping off GW’s IP”. he wasn’t the first, and this does need to be addressed here.

Doing the very same is what GW was originally built on and continues to be built on. You know. Tolkien, firstly and obviously. In SO MANY WAYS. Star Wars. Moorcock.  Giger. Aliens. TerminatorHeinlein, Herbert. Judge Dredd and more broadly 2000AD. Anime & Mecha. Battletech. Dungeons and Dragons. RuneQuest. Anything and everything from history from the Holy Roman Empire to Prussians to WWII to Cruella de fucking Vil and Rambo. Now I’m all for little in-jokes and bits of fan service, but that shit can’t only go one way.

Valhallan Ice Warrior. Yesterday. (Copyright Games Workshop)

The accusation towards Vic is particularly laughable, as she primarily deals in not-Imperial Guard, and the regiments that she’s “ripped off” from GW were ripped directly from history by GW themselves…

Mordian Iron Guard officer uniforms, 1902-1907 (Copyright Games Workshop)

Have some links. Edumacate yourselves. If you like.

Chapterhouse @1D4chan

Chapterhouse Pt1 @Dakka

Chapterhouse Lawsuit thread @Dakka (243 pages, have some spare time!)

Spots the Space Marine @EFF

August 2018 Hobby Challenge: Technical August

Everyone seems to love this guy, and he’s an example of animal-print freehanding, so I thought I’d give him another moment.

So this next month I want to try something different from just Neglected models and Unit painting, that’s still open enough to incorporate a wide range of projects and models that this little blogging community takes part in – and to try to keep it interesting.

So we’re going to have “Technical August”, where the objective is to use techniques that stretch you a little, that you want to improve on, or are entirely new.

Depending on each painter, their experience, skills, expertise in different techniques and comfort level, that can include pretty much anything and everything. It really will depend on each person’s own choice.

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about: This could include anything from:

  • using washes or drybrushing
  • freehand designs – icons, tattoos, embroidery, animal hide and fur patterns
  • glazing
  • working with metallics
  • using those colour shift paints that GreenStuffWorld released
  • heat effects – “internal flame” glow, metal heat discolouration, etc
  • magical/spell/energy effects, plasma glow…
  • airbrushing
  • using the gemstone paints or any other of the newish lines of technical or clear or transparent paints from Citadel, Vallejo, Army Painter, etc – from clear red to rust.
  • freehanding gems or lenses
  • OSL (object source lighting)
  • blending
  • wet blending
  • creating or painting standards and banners
  • wire work – aerials or replacing weapon shafts or…
  • zenithal highlighting
  • scratch-building
  • using clump foliage
  • water effects
  • making trees or other foliage
  • using decals
  • modelling using clear resin
  • achieving patinas
  • weathering effects, including weathering powders
  • edge highlighting
  • vehicle weathering
  • basing techniques

and so on – this is not an exhaustive list by any means – just a set of examples to give you the idea. It’s about using new techniques and working on techniques you may have done some work on but want to continue to improve and stretch yourself. A simple way to look at it would be to ask yourself “Am I already an expert at this technique? Can I improve on it or learn to do it more effectively?” – based on those answers, you’ll know if it qualifies for this challenge for you.

A lot of those are quite straightforward, and you’ll know if they’re something that you both want to do and can work on. If you’re not sure if a model or project will “count” – think about it in this way. Is there a model or scenic piece or whatever that you’ve either started or wanted to start, but have gotten stuck (or not started) because you’re concerned that you’ll screw it up because of this or that technique because you haven’t really done it much, or often enough to be comfortable or even at all? Does it make you nervous? If the answer to any of those is yes, then you know the answer.

Speaking for myself, I’m far from an expert at all of the above examples, and really have no skill or experience in several of them – but as you know, I like to get models that I’m working on anyway – or stuck on finished, so I had to stop and think about what I might be able to do for this one.

After a bit of reflection, I came up with several projects that would count – three of them scenic ones that have been extremely slow going, a whole bunch of armoured vehicles from both WWII and 40k – you’ll notice I don’t get many vehicles (or larger scenery pieces) done – there’s a reason for that! I also came up with ways that a couple of the larger monsters that have been slow, slow going could work.

Hopefully, whether you’ve been modelling for years and have just won several placements at a model show, or if you used to work as a painter for Games Workshop and Warlord Games, or if you’re an absolute beginner who has just moved from, say South Africa to, say, the Netherlands to finally be with your new wife – this should be a month that you can find something for you in!

The following month of September will be a slight tweak of the Neglected Models concept into Neglected Projects (this will include everything from single models as well as bigger stuff, terrain, dios, builds, parts of modular models, etc – but I’ll write it up in more detail and post it about a week before September.)

October will be Completing Units again, and I’ll finalise November and December’s when we get closer!

One last thing – if you have something that you want included in the Jewel of July Community Round-Up, remember to post a link in or to the Announcement Post (as long as I get a trackback or can find it easily via a link of some kind from the comments of that post, it’s all good)

Brigade Models – Celtos: Fir Bolg Skeletons with Sickles – for Kings of War

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

A dozen Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

I’ve painted up a couple of units of “Fir Bolg” Skeletons from Brigade Models now, and this makes the third. Or the fourth, depending on whether I count those spearmen as one or two units, as they can make for either a Horde or two Regiments. I know I’ve got another 16 archers (two troops of 8) to paint as well, so once I clean up my desk in the next week, I’ll spend some time cleaning the archers up and then hit them with the spray can. This time, we’ve got Skeletons with Sickles.

Staying with the same colour scheme I’ve used on their predecessors and in keeping with the rest of the army – Red and Black, Iron and Brass, Rust and Verdigris, Cadmium-Red wood – and Bone. The tabards and cloth this time have been given a Par Chevron in red and black.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Standard Bearer, Skeleton Leader with Axe (Sickle) & two champions

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

The standard came from one of the other Fir Bolg skeleton sets, and working out how I’d create the banner took a bit of time. Eventually I settled on a cloth banner, cut from the material taken from an old pair of shorts and fixed with PVA. The Hero is actually their Skeleton Leader with Axe model, with the axe cut and trimmed into a sickle of sorts. I painted the second of the two champions with the same Par Chevron, though reversed. I’d like to move him to a different unit down the line, and perhaps replace with a drummer, but another £3.50 for a drummer feels a little steep when the champion – a mod of the same base figure plus two troopers runs £4.00 by comparison. I dunno. I’ll figure it out later. I’d originally planned on giving the two champions different shields as well, but when it came time to complete the command figures, I realised that the shield I’d initially selected would not have looked good angled at 90 degrees, and by then I had already ended up using the last “horned skull” shield on one of the troopers, and didn’t feel like tearing the superglue-and-greenstuff mod apart.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Sculpt #1 of #2

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Shield view of Sculpt #1

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Sculpt #2 of #2

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Shield view of Sculpt #2

Only two sculpts, unfortunately. I like having one-piece metal sculpts for these models, but I do wish there was a little more variety in the number of sculpts, like there typically was in the Old(Hammer) days. The shields also reveal that rather than having given the models that lack sculpted shields freehand shields, I used some of the old-school, 20-year-old Warhammer Undead shield decals that I found recently. Once again, these guys were painted using the “Warm Bone” method, starting with a cheap cream spray can from the local hardware store – with much of the work done bit by bit during lunch breaks at work. The final work was completed last Monday, so these guys also qualify as my September Undead entry for the Tale of Painters challenge over on Dakka.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeletons with Sickles

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeletons with Sickles

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeletons with Sickles

As per usual, the final shots show them off blu-taced down to a regiment base for KoW – which I really need to get around to playing again sometime soon. I’ve not done much tabletop gaming in the last couple of months, as it gets a bit too chilly out in the War Room, and as a result my regular gaming sessions with the group for the past few months have been digital (The Division, Destiny, Dead Island) rather than tabletop-oriented. Hopefully the weather can actually change a little now that Spring is here, and we can get some wargaming and tabletop gaming done again!

The Winter Doldrums.

Some of you might be wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately. Well, this time the issue hasn’t been work, but midwinter. Not the winter painting doldrums, either – but a terribad cold that just won’t go away and drains much of my energy. I’ve still been well enough to go to work, and even do some painting and modelling and even forum-ing, but I’ve just not really had the energy for blogging properly. Not wanting to go out to take photos of my models in the (freezing bloody cold) war room. models needing to take a week before I can spray varnish them because it’s too cold (and dark) once I get home from work. I’ve been dividing my recreation time between mostly-simple hobby tasks and simple models and simple painting, and even then I’ve had to force myself. The other place I’ve been spending my time is on the PS4 – playing The Division and Mad Max, which I’ve picked up again after losing interest and putting it down a year ago.

1990’s Citadel Undead Decals

I’ve got another unit of Celtos Skeletons almost done. Literally just a couple of hours of work left on them – mostly on the command, and – oh yeah – I have to figure out a bloody banner for them since the model is an old-school banner bearer with a bare crossbar. So a couple of hours, plus figuring out how to do the banner. (I should go old-school and cut up a cloth banner, like I used to in my Oldhammer days!) Since I’m running out of 4th Edition Goblin shields with the cool embossed skulls and crossbones on them, and I want to keep my few Marauder Undead shields for really special models, I was going to go the freehand route again. Then while rooting around amongst my transfers looking for sheets to use on the Minotaurs and Iron Warriors, I found three old Undead decal sheets, dated 1996 and untouched.

I think I had planned to use several of these on Space Marines, as new/different chapter badges. Certainly the red-hooded skulls look like they’d work perfectly as an Unforgiven chapter, and the winged skulls as a Night Lords subfaction. The Flaming skulls make me think of Word Bearers for some reason (I know, they use the tome). Maybe a “Ghost Riders” chapter? 😉

It’s funny though. I’ve actually gone back and forth on whether I should use them or not. I mean, I can obviously freehand a bunch of skulls and bones that will look pretty good, but it would also add a nice touch of older-school to use some of these old decals. But can I bring myself to defile these one-off, 20-year-old sheets?

D&D Monster Manual 12: Castle Ravenloft Howling Hag, Dark World Haunter

Another one of the Dungeons and Dragons Boardgame models today. The “Hag” from the Castle Ravenloft boxed boardgame was probably my least favourite model to paint from the entire set, which is why she’s taken this long to complete. At first she looked an easy model, and I attempted to knock it out quickly, but the soft detail and general …I dunno, unlikability? of the model led it to sit in half-painted limbo for literally years, including one (failed) attempt to try and get it out and just get it done.

Dungeons and Dragons Castle Ravenloft – “Howling Hag”

Ironically, it’s been the “Tale of Gamers Painting Challenge” that led me to fish the model out of one of the tubs it had been banished to in order to complete it. When I saw it, I thought “yeah, that’s undead” and with April being a very difficult month for me to to various personal reasons, I felt that it might be a way to achieve my self-imposed monthly target on the undead side. After all, I painted two units from scratch last month… Initially, my thought was to potentially use her as a character of some kind, as it’s essentially a boss character in the D&D boardgame, but the model just doesn’t deserve to be a character in a wargame. Not with so many other, better models at my disposal.

Dungeons and Dragons Castle Ravenloft - "Howling Hag"

Rear view of the Howling Hag

As you can see, I’ve really just tried to get a “good enough” tabletop level on the model. Looking at it in these photos, I can see how I’ve completely skipped higher level highlights on the edges of the robes and clothing. But meh. I dislike this model with it’s muddy, soft “detail” and so I’m calling it good enough. the reddish and black shawl is an attempt to add a little bit of colour to the model, and is also “good enough” should it ever be used as …something in the KoW army. Perhaps she could be stuck in amongst the Zombies. It’d work well enough with that giant gob. Perhaps as an (extra?) Necromancer in Zombicide: Black Plague.

Dark World – “Haunter”

Next up, a model started back in the early 1990’s, “finished” to a standard I was unhappy with for a long time, buried in a figure case, and recently exhumed and finished to what is again, a “good enough” tabletop standard. I’ve gone for what has become the more or less default “ethereal” paint style ever since the LotR Army of the Dead became a thing back in the early 2000’s.

This guy is the “Haunter” from the 1992 board game, “Dark World“. I managed to either save up my money or get gifted this HeroQuest-alike boardgame in my youth. It had to be awesome, right? Look at the cover art!

Look at the miniatures! There’s a definite Games Workshop stylistic thing happening there, which was very exciting back in ’92. The Mummies and, well, one of the Skeletons I still have, painted and set up with the undead army. No idea what became of much of the rest of the set, including the large temple that came as scenery in the set, which I started converting way back decades ago but never finished. If I ever do find it, I’ll finish it and show it here. Sadly, I never actually played the game. So, um.. yeah.

Dark World Haunter – Original “Official” paintjob (not mine!)

The Haunter is a relatively simple figure. Even back in the day I didn’t like the goofy face that they gave it, so I promptly threw it away and left what I thought was a much more evil looking ringwraith-style empty hood.

My version of the Dark World “Haunter”

The base made it a little awkward when renovating the old model recently but instead of cutting it off and mounting it on a normal GW style base, I just put the whole thing onto a Warmachine-style “rolled edge” base and built up around the rim with acrylic paste. Like the Howling Hag, I’m seeing this as more of a boardgame model, or perhaps role-playing or skirmish gaming than something that will go into a Kings of War army. In this case mostly because I have no idea what profile to use…

Haunter and Howling Hag

So these models might end up being April’s Undead entry into the Tale of Gamers challenge unless I can finish off something else. I guess I still have a couple of weeks, but I need a break from painting skeletons, so we’ll see what transpires. In any case, I’ve got another couple of monsters for D&D/Pathfinder/WFRP/etc.

Brigade Models – Celtos: Fir Bolg Skeletons with Spears (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

Last June I ordered a bunch of “Fir Bolg” Skeletons from Brigade Models, originally produced and still sold for the “Celtos” skirmish miniatures wargame. By August, I’d managed to paint up a unit of them armed with “Warscythes” to use in Kings of War before my focus in 2015 shifted to finishing off models that had been started months and years before.

With the Tale of Gamers challenge I’ve been running over on Dakka this year, I decided to paint up some more skeletons. After all, they’re quite work-friendly, and it’s always rewarding to finish stuff off. I’ve got a nice bunch of Skeletons done for KoW, role-playing or any kind of skirmish from Age of Sigmar to Dragon Rampant to, you know – Celtos!

Click to embiggen any of the images.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

A scary number of Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Once again, the colour scheme is pretty simple and in keeping with the rest of the army – Red and Black, Iron and Brass, Rust and Verdigris, Cadmium-Red wood – and Bone. The tabards and cloth have either been quartered or feature a par chevron to tie them in with one another or allow a distinction when both units are run side by side. Of course, they can be combined into a “Horde” formation as well.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Musician and Commander #1

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Quartered Heraldry

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Musician and Commander #2

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Par Chevron Heraldry

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

The original pair with an unmodified “spike” skeleton. Chest painted as bone and not banded mail this time.

There’s quite a lot of these guys. By my standards, anyway. The initial two models from eBay that led me to Brigade’s website have been incorporated into the units, so that just left me with 22 others to paint up to complete the units. As I’ve mostly worked on them during lunch breaks, they took quite awhile to get done. And yes, I need to touch up the bottom of the base rims.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

A “unique” pair of Skeleton Spearmen

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Skeleton Spearmen

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Jaw-less Skeleton Spearmen

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Jabby, armoured Skeleton Spearmen

Yes, I need to get more brown Renedra unit trays. Unfortunately the last time I ordered them from Firestorm they sent me sets of green ones, which clash with my model bases. Spray paint time, probably.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Awkward shield placement. Crescent shields to the rescue!

I found their shields to be a little problematic. They came with damaged Celt-ish shields, but these three guys were having none of it. I figured out a workaround, which was to use these really old Citadel shields, and then I followed up with the rest of the models by using selected WHFB4 Starter Goblin shields with skeletal iconography – for what is very much an unrealistic but old-school Warhammer-esque Undead look… (Why are “traditional” RPG and gaming undead covered in skeletal iconography? Who is smithing and painting their gear? – At least the sadly-Squatted Tomb Kings had some rationale behind theirs.) The original shields have gone into my bits boxes, and might come back out when working on Historicals down the line.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Charging Skeletons with repurposed Goblin shields.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

“At Guard” Skeletons with repurposed Goblin shields

I used white for the embossed shield devices shaded with Vallejo’s Pale Grey wash so that the shield iconography would be distinct from the “real” bone of the actual undead.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

“Quartered” Skeleton Spear Regiment

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

“Quartered” Skeleton Spear Regiment

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

“Quartered” Skeleton Spear Regiment

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

“Chevron” Skeleton Spear Regiment

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

“Chevron” Skeleton Spear Regiment

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

“Chevron” Skeleton Spear Regiment

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton Spearmen

Both regiments combined into a Kings of War “Horde”-style unit. …Skeleton Horde.

I know there’s a ton of photos here, but these guys took a lot of effort and a lot of time – pretty much a full month. As much as I enjoy painting bone, I’m pretty sick of it at this stage. I’m still cleaning up the next unit batch of skeletons (only 12, thankfully), but I’ll get the basics done (clean, prime, base coat spray, basing, first wash of brown) and then leave them for a week or two before getting back to them. I think in April I might try to do more character models for the painting challenge rather than masses of troops.

Imperialrebelork requested a tutorial on painting skeletons/bone in my style recently, so I took some photos as I painted these guys up. In the coming days, I’ll sort them out and do a write-up. It’s actually pretty simple.

That New Year’s Post. 2016 Edition.

As the end of another year comes to a close, it’s only natural that people stop and take stock of the year that was. For hobbyists like ourselves – or indeed any people who work on projects or hobbies of ongoing concern it makes sense to look over what you’ve managed to achieve and look forward to make plans for the following year. Resolutions are a “normal” way to do this but I’m too old for that now, and I’d rather just keep (trying to) make incremental improvements and do better with various things all year ’round.

Hobby goals on the other hand, are perfectly legit. My main goal this year was to simply paint more models. Soft target was to beat last year’s total of 319 models and the Hard target was to paint 365 models. Last year I was well on target until I just stopped painting around October-November and petered out with 319. This year I had my eye on it, and watched myself sink into the same late-winter funk as worked ramped up to ridiculous levels at the end of the year. I credit painting at work for getting me through that painful time with some productivity, since there were more than a few weeks when the only painting that I managed to do was that 20minutes or so during lunchtime at work. In the end, I finished with 388. The list is already at the top of the page, so I’ll just link it rather than repeating it here – though I’ll have a separate “2015: Year in Review” post up shortly.

Hip Hop Hooray?

Now I’d like to look over my “other” goals from the last two years and see how I am with them now, at the dawn of 2016. For my own curiosity as much as anything else.

Goals for 2014:

Fantasy:
Finish the 2k pts Ogre Army for KoW – NOPE. Close, but hasn’t been on the radar for awhile. The two Chariots have been an issue.
Paint a 2k pts Dark Elf/Twilight Kin Army for KoW – NOPE. Not even close. The first unit got cockblocked by the banner. I should finish that.
Paint a 300?600? pt Allied Detatchment for KoW to ally with others (Giant, Trebuchet, Wolves) – YEP – These have happened. They’ve mostly grown to army status.
Paint an Undead Army for KoW using GW, Mantic and LotR Undead (also doubles as an Army of the Dead for LotR SBG and WotR!) – YEP. Not every undead model I own is painted, but we have a fully-painted and functional Undead Army at this point.
Finish a ton of Men of Gondor for SBG/WotR and KoW armies of Man – YEP. This started as one of those detatchments, and grew into a rather large (for me) painted army. Still lots more models to go.

40k:
Resurrect/update my previously-finished old Dark Angels Combat Patrol into a 6th Edition 600-pt Combat Patrol
Paint 600-odd points of Deathwing as a CP
Paint 600-odd points of Ravenwing as a CP
Add some extra DA stuff back in – like the almost-finished Dreadnought, Asmodai, etc and Bingo! 2k+ point DA army!

NONE of the 40k stuff happened. I could blame the royal confusing clusterfuck that 40k’s rules have become in the past couple of years and it’s certainly a factor, but I simply haven’t gotten my Fantasy stuff done to the point where I’ve been able to move back to 40k.

2015’s Goals:

Last year at this time, I was still pretty much burned out on painting, and didn’t really set any goals. Over the course of the year, some “happened”, though. The first one was to COMPLETE my Gondor army for LotR/KoW. By this I mean to have every model that I own painted, with the only exceptions being any odd dregs leftover that didn’t fit into units. This later morphed into painting all of the Minas Tirith models, with the fiefdoms, particularly Dol Amroth to be their own, separate project.

The reason the above morphed so was because I got a ton of Moria Goblins painted, and decided that I’d like to paint every one of the little suckers that I own to get them done and dusted. I had about 140-ish plastics and a couple of dozen metals to go, plus a couple of trolls, etc. So Dol Amroth got downgraded.

But then – in order to have room for all of this, I decided I needed to clear off my painting desk, but not in the usual manner of dumping all of the half-painted models into cases and back onto shelves and into boxes, but to finish the bloody things off.

This became my penultimate project of 2015, as I got an awful lot of stuff done, and widened my scope to include figures that had been rotting in model cases for a long time, “finished” by the standard of their original day, but disliked enough by me to keep them there. Often it just took a new base and a bit of touch up to bring them back to life with a standard that I’m happy with today.

Oldhammer Beastmen, Realm of Chaos, Khorngor

A unit of “Resurrected” RoC-era beastmen.

Finally, I had enough of all that, and decided that I wanted to paint some centrepiece models. I booked 2 weeks of Long Service Leave from work (I’ve never taken any before) and decided that I’d try to prep the models beforehand, and from December 4th when I finished, I’d get stuck right in. Well, as the best laid plans have it, instead of a clean break – I ended up doing an hour or so of work from home each day for the first week and then a bit more in the second. Which, frankly, was bullshit. Of the three models I selected to paint in December, I got one completed, and the other two have both stalled out at this point.

So now what? Well, time to set some goals for 2016. Here goes:

  • Paint more models overall – Soft Target is now 365, and Hard Target is 389 – one more than last year.

I think this is very achievable. I’ve got some small scenic items in mind to give me a nice initial boost for January. It’s not cheating – it’s planning!

  • Get a completed army worth of Ogres Finished – I’ll need to redo my lists since points changed in KoW, but I’m thinking 2k minimum with 3k as an ideal.

I haven’t counted them in awhile, plus changes to points costs. But I figure I’ve got close to 2k painted already, but I need to paint the Captain and ASB on chariots to have a “completed” army.

  • Finish all of my Moria Goblins – not much has changed here. I still need to do a GW direct order for about $200 for the last “bits”

Much the same as before. about 140 models plus some extras. They’re pretty simple to mass paint, so I think I can do it.

  • Finish all of my Minas Tirith Figures – Again carried over from an organic 2015 goal.

This one could be tricky, but then, they’re good fodder for painting at work.

  • Encourage Marouda to Paint more – never hurts to have a Hobby Apprentice, right? Or should I get extra geek points for instead saying Hobby Padawan?

She seems to have a confidence issue and is having difficulty with the “just keep painting” approach to getting better and more confident.

  • Greeks on the Table – Get the Mythical Greeks to the point where they’re a playable force. Even only an allied contingent in size.

Seems doable. I’ve got 2 units WIP right now, plus the Talos and the 2 Bulls. It shouldn’t be too much more to get them up and running.

  • Dark Angels on the Table – Resurrect/update my previously-finished old Dark Angels Combat Patrol into a 7th Edition 1k-point force.

Mostly I think I need to bring my 3rd-ed sub-10 squads up to full 10s. And get someone to do a list for me. Archer?

  • Get more half-painted crap finished – an ongoing project, methinks.

Might take more than 2016 to get it done, but I want to have the part-painted backlog finished within a year or two.

Yeah, you lot. And the rest of it!

  • Allow myself more fun – Stop the regiments more frequently and allow myself to paint a dragon, a hero, a cool monster, a forge world model. And do it at least once a month.

We’re all gonna die one day. May as well take the time to paint and finish some of the nicer models!

Oh yeah. Happy New Year and all that. But you knew that, anyway! 😉

Postscriptforgot a couple more things I’d really like to achieve this year – so three more goals:

  • Minotaurs on the Table – Get 1k points worth of Minotaurs Space marines built, assembled and painted.
    I’ve easily got the models, the scheme is pretty straightforward, and it gets Marouda a 40k army of her own (somewhat) into existence.
  • Iron Warriors on the Table – Resurrect/update my previously-half-finished Iron Warriors Combat Patrol into a 7th Edition 1k-point force.
    I need to finish the models I started, and no doubt add a few more. They might well be a mixture of models painted as pre-heresy and “modern” IW.
  • Vikings and their Foes – Get two warbands built for games of SAGA. Vikings, and one other.
    That’s what? 30-odd figures a side? Very doable, though 60 figures is a good chunk of annual output as well…