Friday, 19 September 2014

'nids part 152 - MOAR Genestealers!

Apologies again for the micro-blog but by now you know the reasons. Things are moving forwards but not in a productive sense. Instead I'm just 'pushing peas around on my plate'. What i have done is get the Genestealers dipped ready for eventual painting. I have 11 of the new Stealers I won on ebay, they're the ones on the left alongside the 10 my Kendo buddy Tom Widdows surprised me with.


You can also see that after four or five years I finally decided to get some new Dettol. I'll strip these with a toothbrush in a few days.


And then transfer these from their inky black bath into a fresh Dettol one. I've had them in there for a month now but the Dettol has become saturated with past paints and the original Behemoth colouring has done no favours. Essentially they'reall covered by thin slime akin to used motor oil. I'm hoping fresh Dettol will strip them a little more and failing that a burst of Fairy Power Spray will make them acceptable.


I'm actually looking forward to adding some extra bits to all these Stealers. I'd question why I was doing this, they're not on my list and with my only recent success with Stealers being the Maufactorum brood, which I have sufficient models for this is really a pointless exercise. I do like the idea of having a full Manufactorum and Broodlord Hunting Pack. It's not a list that I think I could take but it is interesting and then I could add my Genestealer Cultists, By no means is this about making a Genestealer Cult army but it certainly makes it viable, even if gaming wise it wouldn't be.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead

What's this? No I havent lost the plot, this is still 40kaddict, I haven't gone all fantasy about the big hatted bonehead model that just came out. What has happened is that in all the upheaval with the loft conversion a relic copy of White Dwarf [WD173], that had been in my bedroom for months that I repeatedly overlooked, suddenly became very relevant. This particular issue was the release of the new Undead and has all sort of decriptions of the key characters and locales. So I decided it would make a nice micro-blog as I really have no other content at the moment. So I give you the early art for Nagash


And also a short story. I'm not sure if this content will still exist within the current issue, I doubt the artwork will considering the new modle is so wildly different [but still with a big hat]. So it should be interesting to those who play fantasy and were blissfully unaware of these humble origins. Although it should interest us Grey Beards too with a whimsical look back 20 years ago.


There'll be a couple of other elements I'll share from this issue later that should be of mild interest to you all, at least, I think they will be. Till then i hope this is 'alwight'!


Monday, 15 September 2014

Blood Bowl - Elves Progress

With so much going on at homeit's been quite restrictive for hobby activity. I was sat there with a curtain pinned to the roof of our 'den' trying to keep out the dust from the building work but I would still see clouds billowing up from the 12" gap between the hanging draps and the floor. So I boxed up most of the stuff on my hobby table and covered the remainder with a plastic bag. Meanwhile I thought the Blood Bowl Elves are actually quite near to being finished. I only had the bases, skin highlights, orange highlights eyes, hair and any little details to do and they were done. The hair and bases alone were the biggies so I set to...


The brown planet basing is very much similar to my red planet basing, just replace Vermillion with Burnt Umber. At this stage I'd washed them and already put the first highlight on. It's not so much of a drybush as wet brush/polish. The artists acrylics are designed for painting on canvas so when you try and put them on tiny gravel the opacity is minimal. It becomes more like a tint than paint, the more you work the drybrush the more paint actually gets removed!


Of course that encourages you to load more paint on which can spoil the effect so the best bet is to re-highlight with the same Burnt Umber upon completeion of the first set of highlights. Successive coats bring out the true colour and provide the hoped for effect.


I then mixed in some Bonewhite to make it lighter for the highlights. I also added the orange highlights on the towels, some more highlights on the black armour with white spotlights in certain areas where light would catch.


Once again I do this mainly around the edges. It helps mitigate drybrushing brown on the already painted minaiture and adds a shadow area under the model for a small element of realism and means the contrast between the model and the area he's standing in is greater and thus enhances it - or so I keeep telling myself.


So next up skin and eyes and picking out the Bonewhite chips on the bases. You may have notices I'm also painting a Frank N' Stein star player, and a referee, just for gigles. There's the purple haired catcher, who is a legacy painted model, I may add him as a Star Player too, hence the purple hair. I also have a kicker who is not even undercoated and a Treeman who hasn't even been bought. I'm actually looking at this guy from Willy Miniatures


But I also like this one from Reaper, which is half the price :) and twice the size :) but probably completely impractical for game play :( which is a shame as although it isn't as appropriate as the Willy model I really like it.


Other than that there are quite a lot of options but I'm not emamored by most of them and some are ridiculously expensive for something worse looking than these two options. Anyhoo, "game on!"

Sunday, 14 September 2014

500,000


I'm not sure if I've ever been able to attribute half a million anything to my life, maybe breaths and heart beats but who really counts them? But half a million page views, that's like nearly 500,000! We don't do this for the money - there is none, but if I had a pound for every view I'd be half a millionaire ;) No, seriously, I couldn't have done it without you all, I mean literally I couldn't have done it without you all! Otherwise there would have been zero page views, although I'm sure some bots might have visited in some form.

I've touched on this before that if you've got a blog and you're committed to it then milestones are a key motivator in keeping going. Arbitrary ones and real ones they're all good. Page views and followers are like the film and TV awards that are 'voted by the viewers'. They're the things actors/singers gush about being important because it's voted for by the fans [up until they get an award voted for by the industry when it becomes important because the experts know what they're talking about ;) ]. 

However, page views and followers are a big deal for bloggers because it keeps us going. Milestones like my To Do List are cool too, it shows we're getting on with our hobby and doing stuff - providing content. But there are plenty of bloggers out there writing and posting with just a handful of followers and page views and I salute you all for keeping going and hopefully this will be a testament that it can be done.

I'm looking forward to my next half-million, there's plenty of new projects and battles to report on and I look forward to bringing you all along for the ride. I may never shake my addiction but with a support group like you all, I'll just take one day at a time.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Space Hulk, oh no!


Much as I'd like this to be a 'he only went and bought it anyway!' post that despite my protestations I put the money down and have my own copy the fact is I didn't but I have just gone onto ebay and it 'suggested' something I may be interested in - the new 2014 version for the princely sum of £200! So clearly the ebay resellers will not be crying over their lost revenue [OK they haven't sold, yet...] what they'll be doing is rubbing their hands over the new stock they can resell at a premium due to it's limited nature.

The answer, stop making it limited, have it available all year round! I mean the oft discussed Tactical Objective Cards aren't limited yet they're just as hard to get hold of. Surely they can put in an order and then renew it every six months. Even if it's limited they could at least indicate if it would ever be restocked. So frustrating.

Friday, 12 September 2014

What GW should do - "Think Different"

In case you didn't know I've bought Citadel Miniatures and GW products since the late 80's. I also have a blog, it's quite cool you can view it here. Those two facts alone qualify me to make 'suggestions' to Games Workshop and their subsidiaries in how they can grow their company/improve their products. So, free of charge I will be sharing some of my sage business advice to them and just you wait as 'we're bound to see them take forward my ideas with gusto. Of note though is that I started this article way back when and may have begun to disagree with myself along the way but I'm loathe to delete it, especially when I've nothing hobbywise worth sharing at the moment thus you must endure my ramblings.

By all accounts GW believes it's hit upon the most successful formula for their stores - the one staffer run shop. They seem to think it offers the best returns for their investment and I can see why but I think they need to look at a retailer with massive success, a similar fanatical customer base and similar 'drop-in' sensibility to their stores - Apple no less. Of course their markets are wildly different but in some respects Apple has made the stores greater than their wares. 100s of people go in, not necessarily to buy but just to be in store. GW has less 'footfall' but with the added dimension of getting people inside to participate in hobby aspects for potentially longer periods of time.

However, as you can see this:



or this:


Seems a very different prospect to this:






Obviously Apple has a lot less stock to sell and as filled as the GW store looks back in the 80s/90s this would have been practically empty of stock given the rack upon rack of blister packs. But surely there is something they can do to try and lift the look and feel? A quick look around google images shows a variety to their stores, with some having faux castle battlements but the predominant motif seems to be black. Now black is cool, all the kids will tell you and maybe black is the perfect colour for GW and it fits their logo better than anything else but there's an oppressive and dated feel to it [maybe even that iconic logo too for that matter] that I think could be improved. But it may be ideal for their 12-25 male target audience.

However, recent changes to their books have shown a shift to white in places to make some of the artwork standout and it's not like Star Wars Stormtroopers or White Scars for that matter get a raw deal for not being black.

Maybe it's the lack of space, but square footage comes at a premium and despite the healthy returns on a Finecast I can't see GW investing in bigger premises with one guy overseeing quite the way Apple does. However, this image by Dave Jessup from the G+ TableTop Fan Community shows that you CAN make a game store look not entirely unlike an Apple Store. This looks quite stylish, quite cool, a place I'd not only happily hang out in but be intrigued to go into.


One other issue is the Disney Store greeting that you get from the staff. Don't get me wrong, I like having a chat with the store managers but I think that "how can I help you today?" or "so, what brings you here?" faux American service industry needs to reassert it's own British identity that can engage with customers but not be immediately in your face with fake sincerity.


They need to create a more enticing atmosphere that will draw curious and nerdy onlookers inside. Maybe they even need to look again at their food/bevarage policy and have their own coffee facilities on site. Lets face it another couple of quid here and there from someone who may spend the day just painting in a corner and nipping out for their drinks is a couple of quid in GW's pocket that they didn't have. And it's not like they couldn't market that either!
 

Like I say, some random thoughts there, some contradictory but I think they perhaps need to look at  other retailers. They do sell a unique product and it has been noted that even with economic problems there have been times where GW has bucked the trend but equally there are some indications that sales are down. By looking at other shops, and with Apple they didn't even have any stores 13 years ago and now they're almost ubiquitous in major cities, they can see if there's anything new they can do. This isn't a 'we've always done it this way' moment, they need to reinvigorate the brand, stores and potentially diversify to build the customer base.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What ho Space Hulk


When I started getting interested again in the hobby [read falling off the wagon] it was right at the last release of Space Hulk. I saw that it was a limited edition and I tried to weigh up getting it as it only had a few miniatures that my son and I needed to paint and would be an easy entrance into gaming for him. Alternatively I could get 5th Edition 40k which I knew I would ultimately want too.

In the end I waited and missed the boat. I always regretted that decision. I desperately wanted the cool Genestealers [although I have since got many of the more generic ones from the set] and the Terminators, though Blood Angels could have been converted to their Fallen brothers. Not to mention the many fond memeories I have of playing it with my mate Chris, back in First Edition. And it's a cool game to boot. Eventually my Mother-in-law gifted me 40k for Christmas and so my descent into hobby bliss continued. Obviously since then I've looked at many ebay auctions with envy and regret so to hear a re-issue of this edition was imminent was very exciting to me...


...and then it wasn't.

I'm pretty sure the reason I've lost interest is the price. From what I recall the previous limited edition was £60 [or £65] this new re-issue is £75, so we're talking a 25% increase on something that already exists, something that's unlikely to require new molds, thereby making better value of those already made. Now that's not to say that that's not still a bargain compared to ebay prices but those prices are only inflated due to the limited run from 5 years ago.

So that new price has gone over my tipping point, and that's baring in mind I didn't buy the hardback copy of 7th Edition or Stormclaw that I intended to, so I could argue I have the funds. Granted I bought other things instead but I just can't justify to myself that price, not at the moment, despite wanting it so badly.


Now ERIOCHROME posted this article the other day that echoes many of my own feelings but I can only reiterate the single biggest mistake in this is a limited run. It will make the ebay market a little more competitive, that's all. If it was still £60-65 and it was available all year I would definitely be able to plan ahead to take advantage of that but given the tiny lead-in time of a weeks notice then I can't shoehorn in a purchase of that scale. Sure I'm having a loft conversion done and that isn't cheap either but that is part of the problem, I'm seeing £100's and £1000's going out on a daily basis and I look at my office chair in the 'hobby room' that's been broken for about 3 months now which I've delayed replacing and in all good conscience I'd rather have that done, so I can paint/browse the internet in comfort than fork out for more plastic.

Oh and Mrs 40kaddict said no!

Anyway I do have some new Genestealers to paint and these are they. The funny thing is I never bought them, erm I didn't steal them either, although I thought I might have. What happened was they arrived in the post from Triple Helix Wargames, via what I believe is their ebay trading arm which is aa-wargames [or something like that]. I opened it and was really excited, had I won something only to forget? But I didn't remember paying for it either. Now I immediately though 'Free Stealers' but then I thought no, these aren't mine and someone would be expecting them and the sellers ebay rating would be affected. So I searched for completed listings and found the auction, found the seller and knew then that it was in error. So I rang Triple Helix and left a message and then also sent a message via their contacts page but never got a response so actually forgot about them over the last fortnight.


The funny thing is I started getting some cryptic messages from an old Kendo buddy Tom Widdows about bitey things and claws and teeth. Tom is an actual British Kendo Squad member and practices in Manchester. He's the guy on the left in the picture below with my friend Joe Willmott. This was taken at a fund raising event for the victims of the Japanese earthquake where we put on a demonstration and I first discovered Tom also had a passion for 40k, when I saw he had a copy of Gaunt's Ghosts with him.


When I was able to practice kendo I was a little in awe of Tom. Although I had a few years more experience on him he'd clearly crammed in a lot of training which had accelerated his learning and meant he graded quicker than I. When you add in youth, enthusiasm and a bucketload of talent I found myself learning an awful lot from those practice sessions. An absence of ego is a key element to kendo, something I continue to struggle with but believe in and seeing someone better at something you've spent longer doing is a humbling experience but ultimately rewarding. Since I had to give kendo up we've kept in touch and he's shared quite a few of his hobby related activities on my Facebook group these Eldar being the most recent but there's some crazy tru-scale shenanigans from way back too.


Anyway, he'd asked for my address recently and I'd thought it was something to do with a recent North West Kendo Competition that Manchester, Liverpool and the other local clubs had arranged/supported. But it turns out it was to deliver these Genestealers and it was a genuine gift, no doubt to help fuel my own hobby and the blog. Tom is struggling with his hobby mojo so I guess at the moment I'm doing what he can't and he's doing the kendo I no longer can. He mentioned starting a hobby blog, which no doubt would be cool but personally I'd rather see him do a Kendo blog. If I could still participate I would, whether that would mean I would not be doing this, or maybe just in a reduced capacity I don't know but Kendo is a way of life. As much as I love my hobby I'm aware that it's a passion, an obsession, an addiction, it may control me but it does not define me. 


So this is a big thanks to Tom for the unexpected gift, I can now paint them without any guilt attached knowing they were for me all along and I'll look to try and add some of my spare Stealer bits so they're more interesting. So in a week where I felt marginalised by the excess of the new Space Hulk it is an act of generosity from a friend that reminds me of the spirit of the community, the meeting people and sharing experiences that are the core of what we do. So I will admire the Space Hulk as it returns and hope that in 5 years time it will come back this again, but for now I'll stick to the 10 first generation Stealers that emerged from hibernation unexpectedly but most gratefully.