Thursday, 7 October 2010

Old Glory and my hatestorm ...

I went to the Derby 'Old Glory' wargames show with the shop this weekend (working on my fucking birthday, no less). I thought I'd share a couple of thoughts with the hoi polloi (you) to get a proper update on my blog. And as I'm rusty and out of practice I'm switching targets from Mantic back to Games Workshop. I need an easy target to get back into the swing of things. I have a lot of bile to get rid of, but recent events in my real life have messed with my head (the world is topsy-turvy, I tell you). So, like a rabid stoat in a maternity ward it's easy meat for now.

Old Glory is an independent wargames show in Derby. It is sponsored by the Old Glory miniature company, and is a largely historical show. However, Hasslefree and Heresy were there so it was all right. As it was my birthday weekend I did get away with goofing off, so I spent a bit (a lot) of time smoking and going to the aforementioned stands.

Now, everyone should know I love both companies. They are true exemplars of the indie miniatures scene. Kev and Andy are wonderful to talk to, both very witty and quite free with their time, so you can talk to them at length and they are both really good at masking their irritation and boredom. And Andy is making what ranks as the best dragon miniature (and I use that term ironically, it's fucking huge and will beat up your Forge World dragon and steal it's dinner money). So go ahead and wibble on about stuff that makes no sense, pop a chubby over the Heresy dragon, they love it. I spent my birthday money (working on my fucking birthday, no less) and scored some awesome booty.

From Heresy I got 2 of the Hurn Headtaker limited edition miniatures. Based upon the predator, it's fucking amazing. Like all Heresy models it's really well cast. You get options for wrist blades, spears and hands as well as the obligatory over-the-shoulder plasma cannon. With less than 50 of the limited run left, I'd really recommend picking one up. Value-wise, at £8 it's easily the equal in raw material of the £12 Logan Grimnar Space Wolf from GW, and unarguably cooler. More about GW later.

I also picked up a fantastic bargain from Heresy too. The uber-cool trenchcoat warrior gang Andy did was available in a big ass blister for £37.50. With ten models in the pack it works out to a saving of about £4. That's not much, I hear you cry like the unbelievable tossers you are. Fuck you, I reply. It has a fat guy with a Stinger missile launcher, a nutcase in a leather dress with a flame thrower and a hard nut with a minigun. One of them is cartwheeling with a shotgun. That is all. You go buy them now, I'll carry on when you get back. Really, I'll still be here.

Back? Already?

You better have fucking bought them.

I'm going to carry on with the literary gem that is this blog now.

All are exceptionally well cast and wonderfully characterful, really good for use as Delaques in Necromunda (aside from the fact all the GW gangs look puny and insipid next to them) but more on GW later.

Switching over to Hasslefree, I finally got my limited edition resin Axenarf. This model (inspired by the GW original Skrag the Slaughterer, not the wanky one with a cauldron tied to it used nowadays, but more on GW later) is a multi-part armoured Ogre with optional heads and a big certificate of awesomeness (I got number 66) made to celebrate Hasslefree's 6th birthday (I had to work my birthday over the weekend, did I tell you?). I also got a pre-release Goatboy master as a birthday present, and bought what is probably the best example of the female form committed to an artistic medium since Rodin's Danaid, Artemis.

This model is naked (the only other female model I have owned with even a hint of boob was Werner Klocke's Chaos Sorceress) but not in a titillating way. It echoes the statuary of ancient times, and all she is wearing is a helm (looks Spartan to me, Hoplite at a pinch) and sandals. She is holding a shield with a big blank space for freehand as shown in Ali McVey's version and what looks to be a gladius (maybe a Gladius Hispaniensis, but I'm no expert) and is in the 40mm scale.

These miniatures can only be made on the indie circuit where creativity has free reign. The very idea of pitching either Artemis or Hurn to a committee at GW is ludicrous. Now, don't get me wrong, GW do produce some great minis. Aside from the sheer ludicrousness of the High Elf helmet there are some wonderful models in that range.

The new Dark Eldar models are also nice, if looking a little fantasy chaos warrior-ish. With the demand for movement in models there are some bizarre running poses and the skiffs look more and more like Jabba's sail barge in miniature (Sarlacc pit anyone) but it is still strictly within the canon as defined by GW's financial masters. And, I suppose, the design studio.

But therein lies the problem. With no room for innovation outside of Forge World (and most of their stuff is derivative and uninspired) I have been drawn to the following conclusion:

Games Workshop is the death of creativity.

Like some fat, malicious, syphillitic, geriatric sadist teabagging the miniatures industry with it's rotting scrotum whilst simultaneously defecating shit, tumours and rotting Space Marines onto it's forehead, all the time wishing it was Simon Cowell, hence able to force greater consumption of it's product by the bovine, cud-chewing masses (you) and completely dictate the zeitgeist of the tabletop industry.

It already dictates the structure of the average gaming company simply due to the number of disillusioned, fucked-over ex employees who, like the psychologically scarred survivor of a torture porn film just end up repeating the cycle again.

In this way GW has tendrils throughout the industry. Retail employees used to have the 'ten commandments' - common sense guidelines like bathe frequently and don't wank on the shop floor during opening hours (where else did you think they got such shitty superglue from?). You know, the kind of thing people can work out for themselves by being able to act in a social situation. Now there are the doctrines (and you thought my Space Marine metaphors were tortured) which govern how a store will look (taking a leaf out of McDonalds food, the same as all other stores), how to make scenery (only out of GW product unless you work at Warhammer World) and how many Baneblade tanks to sell to the guy who has a High Elf army.

Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK? Who do you fucking think you are? Even painting methodology is dictated, with the emphasis on the flat coat/wash/drybrush/done method. Hello Golden Daemon. No really. With one competitor being told he painted in too French a style to make it through the first cut and another being told by an 'Eavy Metal member he should have entered the competition with a miniature that failed to make first cut one has to wonder what the bean counters are doing trying to gouge a bigger profit from a consumer base renowned for smashing their toys when they fail to validate their reason for being by losing a game and alternating between a cataleptic sate when confronted with a real woman and masturbating furiously to porn/bragging about the sexual gymnastics they would perform with that girl over there and entering a cataleptic state when that girl over there walks near them. Possibly yelping in terror if any female anatomy brushes them then fainting.

I am honestly surprised there hasn't been an incident in the store where one of these social underclass (you) cuts up rough after smearing himself in excrement, or possibly Scorched Brown paint and maybe drybrushes a random staff member with his penis.

And those poor bastards in retail. Conditioned to eat at the trough of blandness through spiritual abuse so they are Pavlovian in their responses. Horrendous sales targets (GW Christmas special training: 'If you really loved your son you'd spend more than the £150 you already have' - I shit you not), bizarre orders, demand for new starters with deep pockets and bitchy corporate culture it's no wonder they try to sell you shit you don't want or need.

In a hobby that thrives on individuality GW (and Mantic) have proven that it's natural state is really a Mediocrity, echoing popular culture.

We're all to blame, but you can make a difference. Spend the money that would have gone on a Baneblade on Heresy or Hasslefree. If you need to spend your cash on a range that supports a game, go to Wargames Inc and buy or order some Flames of War or WarmaHordes. Support the indies, or all you will be left with is GW and some expensive models on Ebay you'll wish you had bought earlier.

Angry at weird life turns ...

Monday, 30 August 2010

Another escape ...

A mate of mine, Matt (the illustrated postman) has started a blog detailing his forays into the world of historical wargaming. You can have a read here, and the link is also in the running away section. You know you want to visit ...

Monday, 9 August 2010

Apoplexy and the gag reflex ...

I'm long overdue an update, it seems. The hard thing about all this blog malarkey is to remain motivated and regular through the mindless wankery of retail and dickhead customers that fill my day to day hours like some kind of continuous discharge of diarrhea spewing from an invisible arsehole (akin to the Skorne Bloodworm model but less painful on the way out). I was originally going to use Aristotle's definition of hate to title this post as a nod to my old mucker Tim Matts, but he's too clever and handsome for his own good and the rest of you can fuck off.

I find myself bewildered by the heapings of praise and love some miniature ranges get. Most of my bewilderment is, admittedly, levelled at that bastion of pedestrianism Mantic Games. It appears that you really can gild a turd in some people's eyes. Now, I do know that some models are suffering from a case of that hoary old Cyberpunk maxim 'style over substance' and functionality of design is the new battle cry from everywhere on the Internet (until a model with huge tits comes out, that is) however, there is no escaping that the Mantic range is, by and large, shit.

I should also warn you that this review may not have the same amount of venom in it as the GW Minotaur post. This is because I have pissed and whined about this range already to the high heavens for quite some time. Just dial up the bile factor by about 23 and you'll be about there. I guess ennui sets in more quickly the older you are.

The spindly proportions of their first race (that guaranteed seller, High Elves) instantly put me in mind of that one kid in your school class that you just know will turn into a serial killer. One of the self-loathing, closet-homosexual cannibal variety, like a knock-off Jeffery Dahmer. Well, originality is dead nowadays. I suppose I should put a crass joke about necrophilia, dietary choice and a flask of hot water here somewhere but I can't be arsed.

Add to that the amazingly slanted eyes (like a 70's racist caricature of an oriental person of the far east persuasion) and a cranial shape that could have taught the ancient Incas a thing or two about head-binding and you have a model that should have +1 to it's armour save due to epicanthic folds alone.

Utter fucking wank so far, but don't take my word for it. Have a look for yourself:

See? As an amusing aside, a customer who actually likes this crap came in (I know, I wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't happened to me, much like alien abduction and the subsequent anal probing) and actually said 'I'm not too keen on the elves (no fucking surprise there) because they are too much like the old Rackham metal elves'. That's right, he thought they were too much like the Cynwall from Rackham. I can see that they are both miniatures, but that is all. I think there may have been an element of day release or bizarre wit involved, but as I'm on a bit of a roll, here is a Cynwall elf commander for you to compare yourselves:

So, two leaders and a massive difference in quality. Unfair? Well, the Rackham model is probably about 5 years older and French. Style over substance? No, because the Rackham model is metal, ergo it has Just as much substance as the other one. The difference in scale on the photos is because the Mantic stuff is photographed much smaller than the rest, probably to hide the massive inferiority of product.

There is a cavalry unit too. Special, angry, joy-time derision goes to whoever decided that a person that's about six stones wringing wet through can ignore the laws of physics when using a spear (not a lance, a weapon specifically designed to be used as a prodder from beast back) and can hold their weapon unbraced on the back of a charging horse and not do the whole comedy pole-vault thing when they inevitably miss the target. Ahh, the agonised screams of scrawny high elves with broken shoulderblades flying through the air. Enough to warm even the most jaded cockles of one's heart.

The argument used to defend the Mantic range is that the ghoul models are better than GW's. This is true. It's also not such an amazing statement for marketing to try and sell a range. Another flea-ridden pigeon feather in Mantic's hobo hat is the way they offer better deals online direct from themselves than most retailers can match. Add to this a presence at all the shows and the little customers there are for this tosh (about 3 per million, or 180-ish in the UK) will buy directly from the manufacturer.

Aha, but what about the rules they are bringing out? Surely you aren't about to badmouth Alessio Cavatore? No, but knowing Alessio as I do (quite vaguely) I realise one thing about him: he sees the models as something different to me. He sees them as playing pieces and nothing more, like the GW models he played with. Perhaps that's the reason. I see them in the context of all the other awesome models and I should be seeing them as pawns, rooks and knights.

No, fuck that. It's a shit range that will only get more and more mediocre as time goes on. Alessio's first rules release since he left GW is saddled with utter dogshit. I feel very sorry for him, being overshadowed by such a mountain of crusty wank tissues.

I know this review hasn't been as agressive as usual, but I honestly can't work up the bile with this range. It's that bland, and my leg hurts.

Angry with his bum knee ...

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Save vs. Choresome ...

There will be a new post over the weekend, however Mark from THACO (and Fell Calls) has a blog that is really well written and worth a read. An excellent link to retreat to, however if you're too lazy to skootch your pointing device over, click here and go.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Schilling for friends ...

So, here's another plug for someone else. My number one industry connection, Alessio Cavatore is selling his world renowned Bretonnian army. Painted by sundry members of the 'Eavy Metal team and artists like Wayne England (best known for his wonderful icons in the mid 90's), it's a regular slice of wargaming history.

You can see the listing on Ebay here, it's a beautiful deal. 3,000 points of French aggression masterfully wielded by an Italian. It would have been more apt if Alessio was Corsican so I could do the whole Napoleon thing. If you want to see the whole list with no obligation you can visit the GW website here (if it works).

It's a one-off opportunity and a great buy in time for Warhammer 8th edition.

Can I have my cake now, Alessio?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Things I like ...

One more link added to the 'What the fuck? I was expecting pictures of dog's rectums' section for those of you who have arrived here due to a dodgy search engine. The THACO podcast is what happens when the Podthralls burn out and choose to do a multi-format show (ie pen and paper rpgs and the like) with different people.

Well worth the listen, and the Fell Calls gang reunite for a look at Hordes MkII as well. Very witty, and a great source of ideas.

Angry with insomnia yet again ...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Games Expo and other things ...

So I'm back from Games Expo and with Wargames Inc nearly in working order, no less. Rather than working with the shop, I got to volunteer with Privateer Press for the weekend. Being a pressganger, I get points for it (nothing in life is truly free after all) to spend on goodies. It was this sweet deal that led to me being the only person there with a Cryx faction book.

The show itself was great. I got to catch up with some friends who had entered the tourney but, more importantly, I got to catch up with Vishal from over at Café Turbo and get some tips on my choice of Khador force. I felt very dirty afterwards. He's a bad, bad man. I also got to cover the first day of the tournament as a rules lawyer. Aside from the inactivity the best thing about that day was seeing my old mate and Everblight terror Danny Suthalong lose his first game. I enjoyed it so much I just had to shake the winner's hand. In front of Danny. But fuck him, eh?

I had to cover Vish for his half hour break so I got to go to the demo area (really my favourite part of volunteering) and managed to drag Vish out for a cigarette break (and tactical advice) and then made an expanded sale to one of the Guts'n'Gears podcast. Then back to the tourney. Some lovely armies, some great players but on the whole a bit boring. Like watching an interesting game of chess or snooker. It's vaguely fascinating but it's still chess or snooker.

In case you're wondering, I got to stay in the demo area on Sunday (I think Mike had really had enough of my whining about not earning my points on Saturday). Highlights include a really overenthusiastic demo game that led to a lot of sales and hanging with Lee, Steve, Chris and Stuart. I suppose I should really apologise to Stuart. He was the only guy who knew what was going on with the cool new demo game, so even though he was pretty drained I got him to run the game again. and again. And I got to get a disillusioned Retribution player to buy two Hordes battleboxes. But fuck him, eh?

So, a great weekend. Soured only by people's continuing lack of understanding with regards to aesthetics and basic taste. It seems that in order to garner rabid appreciation of your product all you have to do is add spikey bits, circa GW's late eighties/eary nineties approach to Chaos armies. The latest model to appropriate this design ethic is Privateer Press' War Hog. Now, I'm a fan of huge animals ripping things to pieces. I yearn for an army of attack maquaques riding silverback gorillas so much I'm sculpting one myself. The idea of sentient pig men à la Tolkien's Orcs maiming random Warcasters tickles me. One of my favourite low budget horror films is the Australian flick Razorback. What I'm not too keen on is the approach of adding random bits to a solid concept. The minions Rorsch and Brine were cool. Putting a giant, bipedal pig in a plastic bag with Warjack bits and a load of glue, shaking it about and then tipping it out to see what has happened is not cool. Never. Not even if Mike McVey did it. But that seems to be what PP have done with this excrescence:

Now I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, a bio-mechanical warbeast has been on the cards for a while, and if a 13 year old kid showed you this as a conversion then fine. But as a final model? One that will cost over £20? The head is good. It's more realistic than Brine, though it does seem a touch too big. It's when all the other things are added together, the miniature's weaknesses far outweigh it's one 'strength'. What has depressed me is the endless praise this model has received. It's a crappy pastiche of scrapyard and sub-Hirst wankery but you tossers are eating it up. It makes Dominar Rasheth (or Pearl from Blade, in my prior post) look like a work of inspirational genius akin to Da Vinci's bronze horse. What do you mean you've never heard of it? I despair. I really, really do. But fuck me, eh?

Back to the world of models. As I previously mentioned, I really like the Farrow. Brutal pig-men who are imitative of the cultures around them yet with some really great shamanic traditions. You can do some really horrible things with them. The initial models are great, the new Farrow Warlock is wonderful but the core beast is shit.

For those of you who don't think so, I'd like to pitch you an idea for an addition to your Warmahordes: the Farrow Seductress. Mat, Rat, Str, Spd 6, Def 16 and Arm 12, 5 wounds. Her special action is to bring out those geeky, confusing feelings of sexual lust you have for anthropomorphic animal women to such an extent you suffocate from your dried in, unwashed wank sweat. You can see the concept here. But fuck her, eh? Yeah, you sure as shit want to.

New Hordes models continue to be a mixed bag. I can put up with the Razor Worm despite it looking like a half-finished poo dangling from an invisible bumhole (it's true, turn it upside down and see if I'm lying), I can put up with that bloated fat fuck now I have discovered that the Agonizers underneath it freak a mate of mine out so long as I don't have to have it, but denying me an entire faction?

That's just not on. It reeks of pandering to the lowest common denominator (ie you) and excluding people of taste (ie me and a couple of other people). So, an army for the masses, just not for me. But fuck you, eh?

Angry with anonymity ...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The idea nadir and other moanings ...

Well, it seems that the design aesthetic of my beloved Iron Kingdoms has run it's course and is now moving to the imitative/derivative. Nowhere is this more apparent in the latest release for my fucking Hordes faction, Greasus Goldtooth. Err, sorry, Dominar Rasheth. In complete opposition to the Skorne racial ethic of discipline and all round harshness, the only reason this guy still exists, apparently, is because of his skill taming and training warbeasts. Probably threatens to eat them. However, don't take my word for it, here is the new dominar on the block in all his corpulent glory:
And here is a link to a picture of the Ogre Tyrant overlord, Greasus Goldtooth. Now, I agree that a certain commonality of design will become apparent because the new breed of concept designers have a standardised style due to the film and videogame industry. This is unavoidable, and an ironic reversal of the earlier trend of just plagiarising wholesale from our hobby (Blizzard, I'm looking at you).

However, while homogeneity and a unified logic of design is vital for the film and game worlds (for example, Stuart Sumida can extrapolate how a dragon will move based on his knowledge of real-world comparative anatomy and has taught classes to 3d artists worldwide) this kind of detail isn't really needed in the wargames/role play worlds as pictures and toy soldiers need to stay still and, in the case of toy soldiers, not fall off their bases. The more ridiculous the better, as far as I'm concerned. However, all the World of Warcraft knock-off shit that is oozing through the mini community can fuck right off. You want to pay a fortune to use a chat program with a pretty interface, go right ahead. You want to make models that are integral to my armies look like that shit? No thanks.

Another thing that isn't needed is massive price rises and premium pricing for models based on their in-game effect. Not content with the bare faced (ass) cheek of copying GW's models, Privateer have bravely followed GW's lead on this recently by introducing a Bane Thrall UA that costs £20. That's £10 a model. Just because of what they do in game. Which means a basic baneswarm (because let's face it, one of Goreshade's tiers will remove FA from the Unit Attachment) of 3 minimum-strength Banethralls will cost £90 for the 3 units and £60 for the 6 (yes, fucking six) additional models, bringing the grand total up to £150 without Warcaster, Warjacks or anything else.

What the fuck is going on? As soon as you get success that's it? We're all walking wallets to you? I am pretty disappointed with this attitude at the moment, because I love the Warmachine/Hordes game. Not too keen on the background, although it's getting better. But all this is doing is encouraging the web-based discounter to make it untenable for brick and mortar stores to operate without them diversifying into card games (eeewww) and plastic crack. This has the effect of diluting the customer's spending power which results in less money spent on the thing the shop was set up to sell which means there's less stock ordered and pretty soon you have a cabal of pricks dictating what goes where while they have the manufacturer's collective scrotum firmly attached to their mouths.

It's all about removal of choice.

Angry at people in particular ...

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The long delayed first review

OK, it's high time I posted my review of the Studio McVey range of minis. Initially I was going to compare and contrast with JoeK's model range, but as it's only one model that would be none too fair, and I think if you read any past posts you'll see that I'm all about fair play. So, here goes. Oh, all pictures are used without permission, and any opinion is mine blahdey blahdey blah.

When Mike and Ali McVey left Privateer Press in America and came home they set up their own commission business, the aforementioned Studio McVey. Little did the unsuspecting one-handed web surfer (I'm referring to you, not me) know that the long-term plan was to launch a range of limited edition high end display miniatures. Yes, despite what it says on the box, you can't really game with these models unless, I suppose, you use it as a static representation of your role play character. These are fine scale and of the highest quality so consequently they are very delicate.

In this review I will highlight a few miniatures and talk about the range as a whole rather than each individual model. I will be reviewing some of the models in front of me as I have the whole range so far (including one as-yet unreleased model). That's right, I have the lot and bought with my own money too. So, I think you can guess what the review will be like although I shall try not to be too slavishly sycophantic.

The range was launched with the miniature below, the Raven Priest:

Cast in high quality grey resin and fitting together perfectly (unlike a certain other, more well-known range of models) when this model (initially bought with Broga Hourigsen, the second model in the range) was delivered to me by my mate Grant (he's the one with the magic card that works over the internet so he buys my toys) we both nearly had a fucking heart attack. Well, I nearly had the heart attack. Grant just nearly shit his pants with incredulous laughter. You see, the above photo is about as big as the actual fucking model. Seriously, get your monitor to 1280x800 res and that's pretty much accurate. Fucking tiny. I have long been an advocate of only using a Windsor and Newton size 1/GW 'Standard Brush' for everything on a model because (to me) mini painting is all about brush control and the brushes' point, not the fact you have a £40 twig that has several gnat pubes stapled to it instead of a proper brush head, but this model is frigging ridiculous! Talk about taking the piss.

When you get your model you receive the following: one certificate of authenticity signed by Mike, one of the 30mm Warmachine bases and a four piece model (main body, hands and sword, ectoplasmic ejaculation and a raven for the top of the ghostly spooge). What? Look, it's my blog and this is the kind of humour the British are famous for. So it stays. Fucking knobber.

Careful examination of the main piece of the model reveals next to no imperfections. This is quite common throughout the range. I found one tiny piece of feed sprue on the hair of the model and so far, no mould lines. They must be really well hidden. One thing I am nervous about (aside from painting the damn thing) is cleaning. With resin it is always best to wash the model in warm, soapy water before undercoating, but this thing is delicate. I'm going to have to use a really soft toothbrush. On the back of the model is a fantastically detailed raven skull (there's even a little hole where the bird's optic nerves would connect from the eyes to the brain. Un-fucking-believable).

And now onto the cloak. For fuck's sake. That many feathers should be raising some alarms with animal rights groups somewhere. Each individual feather is fully detailed and about a third of the thickness of a metal casting. There must be over a couple of hundred of the damn things, all crying out to have their detail filled by a slightly too thick layer of primer spray. Bastards. The cloak itself is swirling, enhancing the 'caught mid spell' motion of the model. It also acts as a great frame for the body of the mini, with a fabric lining effectively preventing any overwhelming of the front (and focus) of the model with too much fine detail.

The front of the model is also wonderfully crisp with some of the most ridiculously fine buckles ever seen on a miniature ever in the history of everything on the thigh straps. I thought they were mould lines at first they're that thin. Oh, and his feet have proper fucking toes, not random prehensile sausages that would enable him to climb the side of a fucking skyscraper. Moving past the body (muscular in a wiry rather than brutish way, as is befitting for this model) we get to the head and face. One thing I would like to point out is a properly done sternocleidomastoid muscle that has it's upper insertion point correct - into the mastoid part of the skull behind the jawbone and frames his Adam's apple really nicely.

The face is really wonderful, the kind of thing a 'real' painter loves to paint. It is suggestive of an older man, with wrinkles and slightly haggard, the result of a life lived in a harsh clime. It suggests experience and wisdom and a life of conflict. It's wonderfully evocative and a tribute to the sculptor in that it captures the recognisable features of the Native American without succumbing to cliché or exaggeration. Oh, and the eyelids are present too. The eyes are slightly sunken into the sallow face which will be a nightmare to paint correctly.

Moving on to the other bits, the sword is a touch odd at first. Obviously Viking in inspiration, the thin blade (about 1mm across at it's thickest part) has runes inscribed into it (yeah, you read that last part correctly, they are most likely a quarter mm deep) and has two of the most anatomically correct hands ever on a model (etc etc). You get the fleshy pads at the base of the palm where the thumb joins the hand, and the thumb curls correctly onto the rest of the hand. A little thing to notice, perhaps, but when I was studying 3ds Max correctly modelling hands gave me fucking fits. Really fucking hard to do good, and it is the mark of a master sculptor to do them this well.

The magical emission is up to the quality of the rest of the model, with a separate raven just for you to glue to your eyebrows when you sneeze during the assembly. I found one minor mould line near the end of the cloud that connects to his mouth and that was all. Incidentally, Mike and Ali recommend pinning the cloud to provide extra strength to the join. Really? And where are the rest of us going to acquire such supernatural pinning skills? Damn it, man.

Overall, this model is a great little item, quite unique in itself and worth the money. In fact, you'd definitely pay at least a fiver on top of the price the McVey's are asking if they came from any of the major manufacturers.

Whew. That's a shitload of stuff to read. I'll be quicker with the next model, Broga Hourigsen. Not because it's not as good, but because I think you get the gist of what this range is all about. So then, onto Broga:

Six pieces this time, plus a scenic insert for the 40mm base. Again, a couple of minor mould lines, and the feed sprue is easily recognisable and looks to be easily removed. You get a body (obviously), two heads, probably the best shield in the history of shields (etc etc), a short sword with a dragon scale sheath (I'm assuming, as the model is a dragon slayer) and a lance. The lance may seem an odd choice of weapon, but this guy looks like he could spit an Abrams battle tank with it. That's right, he's the opposite of the Raven Priest in physique. That's not to say he's clumsily sculpted. He's just a heavy-set hard bastard. The pose has great movement, like he's just setting himself before delivering the coup de grâce to some unlucky lizard, before making off with the requisite virgin maiden (or catholic schoolgirl if he's lucky) to tidy his flat and get his trophy skulls in order.

As you would expect from Kev White, sculptor extraordinaire and all round top bloke, this is an amazingly tight sculpt. There really is a sense of restrained motion in this one, and it is one of his finest sculpts ever (etc etc) which really is saying something because his sculpts are incredibly highly regarded in the miniatures world by anyone whose taste isn't solely in their mouths. Of the two heads I personally prefer the one encased in the uncomfortable but evil looking helm. The bare face is wonderful, don't get me wrong (this is another guy who has seen life, and has a badly-set broken nose and a right hook that would knock out a small house to prove it) I just prefer the whole 'faceless warrior of bastardry' shtick myself.

Encased in some of the smoothest heavy armour ever it's quite a feat to make him look like he can move under all that metal and dragon scale, let alone heft such a monstrous weapon and shield. A shield that has a scale inlay on the front and relief patterns on the reverse. What the hell? I hear you say. But think about it. This guy's day job is fighting things that breathe fire/acid/lightning/watery Frenchman's ejaculate so all the fine inlay would be on the bit that doesn't get damaged. Ahh, you get it now, eh?

This attention to detail runs throughout the whole Studio McVey range. Form following function and not just bedecking them with rivets, skulls and chains for the hell of it.

So, two wonders of miniature design, and onto the first female model, with concept art by the lovely Ali McVey. Surely, you cry, they have gone the Games Workshop route and made her more masculine than an evening of fried meat products and a war movie marathon with Blackhawk Down prominently featured? There must be a whiff of the sausage about 'her'? More pre than post operative Brazillian? Well, let us have a look at Seraphine Le Roux:

That's right, a wonderfully sensual and feminine model with echoes of Nichelle Nichols, no aura of transgender and, unusually for the range, a single piece cast. The first thing Grant noticed about this model was the fact that the snake is a proper snake. It's not just a tube of resin, it has a spine and the triangular, muscular feel of a constricting snake. The first thing I noticed was how fucking tiny it is. I swear, from the bottom of the diaphanous robe to the top of the Afro is the same length as the top knuckle of my fucking thumb. I nearly fucking cried when I realised, not content with making me paint Afro-Caribbean skin tones Studio McVey is making me paint one of the greatest, most proportionate female sculpts of all time ever (etc etc).

You might want to take a look at those tarot cards. Ali has actually painted a design on them, minuscule as they are. When I got to quiz her about how it was done, she said it was more about the gesture of the mark than painting the actual detail. Still, looks like a fully painted tarot card on something that has to be about 3mm wide at best to me.

I could go on and on about how great the range is but, being the jaded, bitter porn-hoarders you are you would most likely say 'Ah, but that Viking dude and the anime chick are pretty shit'. After you woke up and picked up your teeth I'd tell you that they are two of the most underrated models in the entire range, especially Vitharr Bearclaw. Despite being named after a type of pastry, Vitharr is a proper name-taker. This looks like the type of guy who would fit in with those ultimate of hard bastard name-takers, the SAS themselves.

The model comes in 4 pieces with a scenic base insert, main body, two heads and two weapons:

Height-wise, he stands a head taller than Nichelle, but much wider and bulkier. He has the requisite mighty thews but he also has a bit of girth around the waist which, in addition to being encouraging to fat fucks like me is also probably more accurate than the 5% bodyfat extreme sixpack super gymfit version of ancient warriors that modern film is so in love with. You know, those good-looking, hairless wankers that sweat baby oil. Of special note is the chainmail. You can clearly see each individual link. That's fucking right. Every link. Not the usual swirls but proper looking chainmail. There are a couple of prominent mould lines on the undersides of the arm, but that's that. The fur on the cloak looks like fur and not doormats stapled to ... oh wait, that's those other things. He's posed crying his defiance to the skies and ready to sell himself dearly. One huge axe - check. Three swords? Check. You just know he's going to be hacking fools down like a nuclear blast through a wall made of twigs and jam.

It's the same with Sharro, the anime chick. The photos do not do that model (or the paintjob I can reliably inform you) justice. I was going to get one anyway, because I'm a completionist, but when I saw Ali and Mike's model in real life I was much happier. Seeing her in real life even changed Grant's opinion of her.

Each model also has it's own narrative, a little story it conjures into your head. There aren't many models that can do that, and this range does it for me each and every model.

Look, I can type stuff about this range till I run out of superlatives and have to pepper my sentences with 'fuck' and revert to anal sex jokes but the bottom line is this: this range is wonderful and worth your money. That's the important one. Each figurine is worth more than the price paid for it in quality alone. Go to Studio McVey's commercial website, have a squiz at their blog and buy their fucking models.

I haven't even mentioned Pan, Isabella or the latest model, an Elven Bowmistress that is 'waffer theen' (you know, like the mint ... Monty Python ... oh, fuck off then). I also haven't spoiled the next release that was available at Salute (a bright spot in a shitty day) - I will say it's by the same sculptor as the Bowmistress and will be a touch more pricey (but still totally worth it) because there is ... no, I'll keep that to myself.

I'm not affiliated with Studio McVey in any way except as a customer. I am up here at work at ten to two in the morning despite what the fucking blog post time says because I don't have an internet connection at home and I fucking love this range. I have paid cold, hard cash from my own pocket for these models and I haven't regretted any purchase. I will continue to buy every model they produce even if the picture doesn't do it for me because I know the final product will be like the rest of the range - exquisite, quirky, amazing quality and diametrically opposite to GW's 'Minotaurs'.

For those of you that need a properly quantified score and can't be arsed to read the review and generate your own opinion - fuck off you pedantic twat, get your money out and buy.

For the rest of you, see the above statement.

Angry that time keeps slipping away

Friday, 30 April 2010

Cronyism alive and well ...

Just a quick post to let you know that a mate of mine, Vishal Odera has set up a gaming blog with one of his comrades. It's called Cafe Turbo and is fast finding it's feet as a repository of gaming advice, hints and venting spleen. Vish is a fellow Pressganger and all round great bloke, and is always ready to give advice and I find it particularly helpful to have such a knowledgable Warmachine player as advisor.

They also cover 40K and the like, but as I don't play any GW games I can live without that shit. Language is a little fruity and coarse (Unlike this paragon of moral rectitude) but they do have a content warning. Great fun and well written, so go over there and join the community.


Angry at UA cost

Monday, 26 April 2010

Salute the afterglow ...

Well, it's been and gone. Salute, for those who don't know, is the biggest trade show on the indie calender. Held in London's ExCel centre at the same time as Virgin's London Marathon shindig, from the foyer (a space I became intimately familiar with during the 5 minute trek to get outside for a smoke) it was a place where wargamers and non-wargamers could mingle and pursue their disparate interests. In actuality, it was a place for the socially inept, hat wearing, low spending freaks that make up my chosen pastime's core demographic to ogle the hordes of trim, attractive women who had no interest in them at all beyond avoiding their personal shield of rectal gases and pungent masturbatory sweat while trying not to laugh at them for having pictures taken with Lord Vader, Luke Skywalker and the requisite Imperial Stormtroopers.

As has become normal for any type of wargames show requiring my participation, it began badly the day before. While transferring the shelf stock to the racking, the Germans decided to take a nose-dive. One rack of blisters all over the shop. Literally. Add to that the tension I was feeling because I didn't know if Studio McVey were going to reserve me the toys I wanted from their range of exquisite models and I was ready to petrol bomb the shop, strip myself naked, smear myself all over with Vallejo German Cammo Black Brown paint (I'm not covering myself in anybody's excrement) and head up the nearest high landmark with a paintball gun and a list of local councillors. Fucking emails. I'm sure they get delayed on purpose.

After watching the rack take a tumble I remained sociopathically calm, politely told the customer in the shop that I didn't need his help and had a coffee and a fag to calm down. The rest of the packing passed slowly but without incident. At the end of the day when one of the customers who had gracelessly agreed to help out turned up with the hire van, the second mistake of the day became apparent.

I had changed the van hire company we used because I didn't want another bollocking over leaving a van outside overnight in the quiet, untravelled street and how we were liable for any damage incurred blah blah fucking blah. So when I asked for a van capable of holding our racking, the guy suggested a Luton van. Not knowing what was what, I agreed. It turns out that the Luton van is so named because it is the size of Luton. We could have fit the whole fucking shop in the back.

Loading took next to no time, so let's skip forward to 4am Saturday morning. We're having a coffee at the shop, ready to head off. It is at this point that Marcus and Martin decide to treat me to their anal rendition of the frog chorus. Thankfully Sir Paul McCartney was nowhere to be seen, otherwise we might have had an ass gas operetta in the making. It certainly set the tone for the rest of the drive up there.

An interminable time later, broken only by a stop off for a coffee and a Krispy Kreme (I know, an American Icon in the UK that isn't a celebrity - go figure) we got to London. Then we started heading out of London as we went onto the wrong exit. All I could think about was missing out on the limited edition miniatures and the chance to see Mike and Ali's miniatures in the flesh. Hey, fuck you. We're talking legitimate art here. I don't see your individual fucking minis going for £200+. Eventually, amidst much cursing and anxiety we got to the ExCel centre. Marcus drove us into the venue (honestly, you unload from your van in the fucking aircraft hangar that contains this motley toy market) and we had about an hour and a half to set up before the advance ticket holders got in. That's right, for the princely sum of £9 you can get into the event a whole 15 minutes early. Whoop de fucking do. You needy bastards are keeping me from what I want with your demands. With all hopes of securing my minis vanishing, we begin setup and I'm in a real foul mood.

So, an hour later with setup complete and Alessio Cavatore (now unfortunately ex-GW) safely installed with Shuuro I leg it to stand TG12 and Studio McVey. It was pretty easy to find, what with the pillars of light and cherubim and the scent of lavender and all. All right, all right, enough with the Catholic imagery. I guess you realise how cool this was going to be for me by now. I was going to get to meet the guy that wrote the guide that developed and improved my painting 'skills' that lived in the house that Jack built. And I was sure as shit going to have my toys reserved for pickup later. I turn up at the stall and Ali is busy setting up the lighting for the display of Studio McVey models. You know, the painted ones in the gallery. Holy fucking shit. I introduce myself to Mike and explain about the models and he says 'Ah, you're the guy that emailed me. No problems, we've got your stuff put by.'


To wrap this amusing little misunderstanding of mine up swiftly, it seems I'm a born worrier and there were models aplenty for me. Looks like I wasted a lot of energy over nothing, kind of like now, you know, typing with gritted teeth. Silly me, eh?

Sigh. Still, I did get to have a good chat with Ali. Turns out she's a classically trained fine artist. So she knows about painting and stuff even before she started painting minis. And, as she can draw a bit (she did the concept art for two of the Studio McVey minis), she's not a fine arts student in the usual, Hirst and Emin sense of the word (ie: not a talentless blagger plagiarising earlier work from the 60's and passing it off as new and unique. I'm talking about you, Hirst). However, I do think she worried about the lighting of the display cabinet needlessly. They're both really nice people, really approachable and honest, as I discovered when I tried to overpay them.

I also got to spend a little time with my mate Vishal, a fellow pressganger. I then discovered why I'm generally tired most of the time. Vishal is stealing my energy, and probably everyone else's too. He's really upbeat and enthusiastic. More so at Salute, I think, because he was on the energy drinks. That fucking battery powered rabbit thing couldn't keep up with him if it was nuclear powered. You know, that sex toy thing. I swear he's so full of enthusiasm you should hate him on sight with his youth and good looks. But he's cool, so you can't.

So far, this post has been a sickening luvvie luvvie smooch fest by my standards. But wait, here it is, the shit sandwich under the cherry topping that is Vishal and the McVeys.

It turns out that the manufacturer of our main line, the line we brought to Salute to sell were there. Yes, that's right, Bastardfront, manufacturers of Flames of War, had pulled the ultimate douche bag move and bought 30 square feet. Hold on, you cry. Surely they have a right to be there. It's an important expo, so shut your fucking mouth. Well I say fuck you. I wouldn't have had a problem with them aside from the fact they brought the entire range with them and were in the plumb area. Add to that the nice people were letting it be known they would match any discount offered and they took 80% of the money from the Flames market there. That left the 3 or 4 other retailers who carry Flames as a major line to scavenge for the remaining 20%.

Retailers cannot compete with the manufacturers of ranges as they generally don't have the staffing or buying power to compete with them. This isn't generally a problem with the bugbear du jour Games Workshop, because they won't discount their stock. This means that retailers can knock 10% off and be reasonably assured of a decent amount of sales. Obviously not good enough for Battlefucks, who wanted their cake and mine too.

So these dicks turned up to the big show and fucked over their customers because they could. I would like to meet the person who decided that would be a good idea and punch him so hard in his fat fucking face that my knuckles turn to powder. And thank you very much to the wankers who thought it would be a genius idea to put us in a row that contained Skytrex, Peter Pig AND had two other major Flames retailers close by. That's right, we were tucked away in the corner, well away from the huge Flames show in the middle of the fucking room. Looks like we were fucked before we even got there. So, if by any chance the South London Warlords are reading this, let's try not to clump every genre together next time, eh? Surely common fucking sense dictates the spreading around of competitors. Think of it like scenery on a battleground, where ... oh for fuck's sake I give up. The short of it was we got fucked.

Salute was a mixed bag. On the upside I got to meet the McVeys, get my line of their models completed and hang for a short while with Vishal and Phil. I got to see the Studio McVey studio models up close (and fuck me they are unreasonably well painted) and shake Mike McVey's hand. On the downside I don't think I absorbed any of Mike's talent (osmosis is bullshit) and the shop got fucked. We got back to home base at about 9.30pm, so it was a long fucking day for us.

I did get a box of Krispy Kremes (a dozen assorted donuts but only one way of inducing a diabetic coma) so I ended up having a cop's breakfast (coffee and donuts) and am probably on my way to a heart attack.

So business as fucking usual then.

First review will be here by Friday (it turns out it really is harder to write nice than nasty). Until then, fuck off with your whining.

Angry with Kiwi game companies for some previously explained reason

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Quick bullshit at late o'clock ...

Okay, here's how it's gonna be from now on. Regular updates for starters. I know, I promised this before but I've hit on a way of placating the moppets who read this shite/are waiting for their commission/are most definitely not hot women looking for a hook-up with a fat, chain-smoking geek.

Regular reviews.

The first proper review will be of Joek's limited edition miniature range, of which I have number 3 of 300. It's an Elf lord with sword upraised on a scenic base or, as we all know all Elves are really pre-menstrual teen girls, She-Ra. I'll then contrast it with the Studio McVey range. Not a comparison, a contrast. Why not a comparison? Because, you fucking idiot, The McVey range is more established. And it is by my idols. For fuck's sake I'll explain more in the aforementioned first proper review.

However, to whet your appetites, here's a quick teaser - a review of Army Painter Matte Black Spray. And a contrast with the Games Workshop spray. I'm in a mellow mood because I'm listening to James live in Manchester (the 'Getting away with it' concert). So not much rudeness.

The Army Painter range of hobby materiel has rapidly gained popularity with gamers because it knows it's target market. Most gamers want an army of models painted quickly to get onto the tabletop, hence a large range of coloured sprays, several types of dip (fucking cheating) and now some pre-clumped static grass. You know, that product that model railway types have known about for decades. However, the core of their range has to be the undercoat and basecoat range of sprays.

The spray I am reviewing is matte black undercoat. Competitively priced and in an area not totally dominated by the 3 ton, senile, nappy-wearing monkey that is Games Workshop, it is still only available in dedicated hobby shops (like Wargames Inc, ho ho) or online. It's the same size as the GW Chaos Black primer but the nozzle gives a much more diffuse spray, covering models more quickly and saving you money by being more efficient (in theory). In practice, it gets everywhere except where you want it on the fucking mini. The paint formulation leans towards the plastic side of acrylic, and it dries to quite a soft finish with no tooth for subsequent layers of paint.

The quality of the finish leaves a lot to be desired too. You either end up painting on a surface like oily glass or (as on my test model, Lich Lord Terminus) a surface like fucking cake. What cake? A two day old cream and jam scone from the fridge - soft and unlikely to accept paint well. I should have known better but I really wanted Terminus covered and ready to go. I have areas of oily glass, areas of cream scone and some areas of no fucking coverage at all. To compound this, I'll be mainly using P3 paints and they seem to need a bit of tooth to adhere nicely, meaning a fun time of painting him beckons.

In all good faith, I can't recommend the spray. It's deceptively wasteful and quality control appears to vary from batch to batch. There have been a few cases of frosting (propellant mixing with the spray) that I know of. This seems to have died down recently so maybe they have got their act together.

I'm in the minority in the store, but the GW undercoat range is still the best. It contracts slightly (a bit like gesso but much less pronounced) when it dries out on the model, forming a tougher coat, and has the slight tooth that makes it a joy to paint over. The nozzle gives a more tightly focused spray which gives greater control and, paradoxically, less waste.

I do like the Army Painter Gray undercoat spray, but you have to really dust the coat on from a slightly further distance than is recommended so you run the risk of a sandpaper texture in the finish.

Conclusions? Stick with the GW sprays (aside from the varnish) and if you want to do some flash painting effects, use black/white zenithal undercoating and be done with it.

So, other news. The Khador Behemoth is put together and waiting for an undercoat. I have the colour scheme worked out, and I shall start it soon. All I have to say about that is I shall never ever have one in my Khador Army. Oh, and thanks to Cris for letting me test out my Khador scheme and work out all the bugs on his model.


Angry that he didn't make the grade, been more loved and less afraid, scored the goal or got the girl ...

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Don't lick the baby!

It's been a while since my last post. No, I don't care about what mundanity you fill your existence with, this is my blog so pay attention to me. In the time I've not been spewing typed bile over the internet, I have managed to run a painting contest at Wargames Inc that I placed dead last in. It seems that artistic ability cannot compete with size or a bare breast when it comes to miniature judging. Don't let the fact that my model has no genitalia on display or is small influence you in any way what so ever, eh? Anyway, here's Mr. Stinky in all his glory -

I have altered the levels to better represent the colours on the model (they are reasonably close to the real model) but it has had the effect of making him look green-screened onto the picture in places. But who gives a fuck, right? It's complete and a reasonable effort for the time and lack of sleep involved. No, I don't know what the sculptor was smoking when he made it. I'm only glad that people like Andy Foster will cast up the more outré models and give aspiring sculptors the chance to shine.

A quick aside - Heresy Miniatures is essentially 3d Palace but with miniatures, so if any members of that community want some great reference models, go buy some. No, you can't fucking torrent it, it's real, for fucks sake. Idiots.

Speaking of idiots, the other day, while selling some random chump a toy he doesn't need I inadvertently offered my services as minipainter to him on commission. Regulars and the fuckers that comprise my customer base will be literally shitting themselves with laughter when I reveal I have to : prep, assemble and paint to completion the Khador Behemoth in six weeks. Well, the muppet is paying my price, so it looks like I'll have to do my best to follow through with my end.

And, seeing as this sort of thing seems to get the Youtube geeks wet, I'll even do an unboxing post so those that don't know what the Behemoth is can get a good look. Personally, what I think you get when you pay your money is a box of what you've bought but you all seem to be masturbating over this kind of thing, so here's some gratification for you.

Please clingfilm the screen, otherwise your dried snail-trail emissions will give everything that special Twilight daytime sparkle.

Starting off, here's a picture of the box. It's reasonably sturdy, and can raise a painful welt on the forehead of random customers who piss me off:

As you can see, it's brownish with a picture on the front and has a price tag. This is the amount of money some random chump or chumpette with a 'Rick Astley is so uber' meme fixation will have to pay. Note it's in Sterling, the only real currency in the world. Why's that, I hear you whine while snorting coke through a straw made of your local monopoly money? By Royal Appointment to the Queen of England, that's why. Don't make me kidnap you and force you to watch Big Brother over and over again.

On to the next picture in our unboxing special episode ... the inner plastic container! Yes folks, included in the price for free is this fetching inner box made of modern plastic which, as we all know, is derived from oil! That's right, in your own little way you are contributing to the war in the Middle East. Actually, you're all responsible for it. Fuckers. Well here it is. The result of your fucking consumer whore lifestyle. Enjoy it, war criminals:

The next picture shows the white metal bits that have to be cleaned and filed and pinned and put together. That's right, it's a lot of work to put a mini together. As it's for olblue, I was tempted to put it in a bag with some superglue and shake it all about and post it off, but it will be painted pink and black so that's enough of the aggro, I suppose. It feels a bit pyrrhic, to be honest, as he's colour blind so it will all look like it's gray anyway. Perhaps he was abducted by aliens and crossed with a skinned chihuahua after being repeatedly probed with a sink. It would explain the baldness. Anyway, the picture:

I've sort of ran out of steam with this. I honestly cannot believe you have the slightest interest in an unboxing but one of the conditions of the commission is to do a stage by stage thing on my blog. You could, of course, buy one yourself and look at it in reality. Oh well. Fills the binary aether, I suppose. It's not like there's a limit to the amount of shit the internet can store.

The next post will have prep details, hints and tips on how to do it properly (i.e. my way) and maybe some other stuff. I was planning on doing a series of reviews on gaming product and an article or two on paint ranges. If I can be bothered. You can comment to let me know what you would like but I probably won't pay any attention to you.

No, I definitely won't pay attention to you. Bastards all.

Angry at bread, because it doesn't taste like it smells when cooking.

Monday, 8 February 2010

The blog is closed, everybody get out.

Apparently (and much to the amusement of the other staff, customers and especially the owner of Wargames Inc) I am Bernard Black, crotchety book shop keeper and aggressive drunk of the sitcom 'Black Books'. Now, I do like the series, and Dylan Moran's stand-up is fantastic but I just don't see the resemblance. The hilarity stems from a staff member's wife saying 'That's Rob! Just replace the wine with coffee and it's Rob!' while watching series one and then it spread like a particularly virulent STD. Every time I interact with one particular staff member (you know who you are) I usually get the following response at least once: 'Jam jam jam jam jam eurgh!' followed by a mime of 'me' throwing toast to the ceiling. I think there has even been threats of sticking plastic toast to the shop roof. Irritating as this may be, I didn't think anything of it until the time came to go out and interact with real people.

A friend of mine, Amy, is going to work in China for a year as a part of the VSO programme, which means she has more balls than I do. Which also means she has far more balls than the rest of you, what with me having an American football as well as a couple of back-up testicles. This past Saturday was her going away party and I was invited for drinks. Yes, she is that committed to charity. The downside? It would be at a local pub frequented by people who don't play wargames. Not exactly my milieu but duty called (it had nothing to do with ogling her in her party dress either, before you start).

So when I got there I edged my way past the well-dressed people (I had chosen a rather fetching anorak and Primark t-shirt ensemble, complete with the requisite beige combat trousers of the sixty-year old), spotted Catherine's American beau Steve and quite quickly got myself a pint of coke and hid in the corner. Steve is a nice guy, automatically interesting because he's foreign so I could follow standard UK diplomatic policy and hide behind the nearest yank. Especially useful when the obligatory huge drunken guy from Nottingham demanded a chinwag.

As the evening progressed I eyed the svelte people passing in front of me. The women were like gazelles on the African veldt, graceful and alluring. Me? Was I some leonine predator on the hunt, you ask? Yes. Yes I was. If by leonine predator you mean fat, toothless hippo in a muddy, excremental wallowing hole. I steadfastly refused to move from my comfy, leather hidey hole unless it was to nip out for a fag.

Out of my depth? Considering that I can't actually swim it's a particularly apt metaphor. I got to meet some people who are so far out of my social circle I would normally need a fucking radio telescope to catch sight of their feet as they ran quickly away from me. All through the night I was having flashes of that episode where Manny locks Bernard out and Bernard is forced to brave the outside world for once. That was when it hit me.

Despite all of the good intentions from the lovely people I know (most of you can exclude yourselves from that prior statement. The people concerned know who they are) to include me in a broader social circle, I am Bernard Black. I am fiction made flesh and blood. Fucking typical. I'm not Batman or Raffles or Howard Carter, I'm the living avatar of a drunken Irish arsehole. Made slightly more ironic by the fact I am half Irish. For fuck's sake. When the party decided to decamp to a local bar for table dancing (the party were going to dance on tables, apparently. As I don't drink I wasn't going to do my Grandad shuffle and fall off a sticky, formica-topped table. That would have been the kicker, the sober guy breaking his leg while the drunken ladies in their improbable heels stayed safe) I took my leave. It had been a long day, I was shell-shocked by my revelation.

Seeing as the majority of you fuckers are so tight you fucking squeak, I'd like you to help Amy out here. You sure as shit ain't spending your cash in the shop, so why not do something unrelated to whining about the rising cost of GW products for once. Scroll down and you'll see that even I, grumpy Irish bully that I apparently am, have donated to the cause.

And yes, Amy did look alluring in her party dress. However, gentleman that I am, I didn't stare at her cleavage once. Or more than once. So there.

So onto a brief hobby update today. I have been painting (sort of) for a miniature painting competition I'm holding at the shop. The model I have chosen is Andy Foster's Feral Queen - a really nice female beastman type that could double for Valkyria the Bloody with the addition of some wings (and as long as you don't try to use it at Games Workshop).

In addition to this, I'm actually starting sculpting proper - no more likenesses of Burke from Trapdoor, I'm going for a (reasonably) whole miniature. I will be starting it about a half hour after this long winded and picture free update, so expect to see pics of my progress ... at some juncture in the future. I will be using Fimo over a wire armature and trying to sculpt a male figure. Hopefully it won't end up looking like some ancient fertility idol but you can never be too sure ...

Angry at the whole Cerebus the Aardvark turn his life seems to be taking

Thursday, 21 January 2010

It's all your fault, you encouraged them ...

Another day, another post. This time, it's my latest addiction - Firestorm: Armada. It's like Battlefleet Gothic but with no flying castles. I have chosen the Sorylian Collective as my fleet of choice to help the sales push at Wargames Inc. All next week I am running intro games for the peons who blight my life. I'm also proxying enemy fleets with BFG models, so you needn't feel like a lemon if you don't have the toys the cool kids have. You'll just look like that kid in the corner - you know, the outsider who no-one really likes. Which is why hugely muscular male barbarian miniatures are not homoerotic in any way whatsoever. Pictured below is 17cm of resin warship that actually fits together. That's right, it's nothing to do with Forge World at all.

A similar metal BFG ship (Cairn Class Tombship or Marine Battle Barge) will set you back £20, plus you won't actually be able to play a Games Workshop Specialist game in a Games Workshop store as the guys at GW Loughborough found out when the area manager bollocked the GW staff member who had foolishly allowed the regulars to play a GW game in a GW store. Apparently, as it's not a core game it's not welcome as it doesn't encourage massive sales of Space Machines. This was after the aforesaid regulars had done about £500 on BFG product. Really fucking professional to dress down a staff member in front of the customers and on the shop floor.

The above Sorylian battleship is in stark contrast to the latest bolus of plastic shit to be listlessly dripped from the sphincter of the GW design studio's derelict, rotting tract by some form of decrepit peristalsis. These atrocities are actually real models that are expected to sell. Looking like a skinned Damian Hurst exhibit, these things have been on the kind of steroid/antibiotic shit that are force-fed to beef cattle to the nth degree. Un-fucking-believable. Abdominal muscles all the way up to their necks and arms like Nelson's fucking column. All this screams 'I want to be a Rat-Ogre' in a loud voice. Not as skinned-rat looking like the 'Dire Wolves' in the Vampire Counts range, but rat looking all the same. Whoever put this shit together also understands nothing about anatomy, it seems, beyond the basic requirements of a biped - one head, two arms, two legs and a body.

I don't think that creativity should be stifled, but (paraphrasing from an interview with a GW sculptor I read a while back) you need to learn the rules before you can break them effectively. All this seems to have flown over the head of the deaf, blind, dumb and dead moron who okayed the go-ahead of this addition to the range of ungilded turds, who seems to not understand that you shouldn't have biceps over the shin bone. However, the number one crime that has been committed is the fact that they don't have cloven hooves.

Now call me a bitter classisist if you will (and I'll call you a twat) but having standard, clawed legs means these are just large Beastmen. That's all. I imagine that they will be really heavy hitters, but that won't change the fact that these models are just shit. And the fur - my God, the fur - looks like it has just got some doormats stapled to it's skin. Workshop has a shitload of cash invested in haptic sculpting tools and 3d software and spend a fortune on tooling these molds to pump out rotting smeg. They wouldn't do it if idiots (i.e. you) wouldn't buy the shit. That's the only way to make GW change their mind - hit them in the accounts department. However, don't take my rant for it here are the offending miniatures:

Now compare those to this green from Felix Paniagua (fired from the GW studio), a more traditional minotaur from his Avatars of War range:

Note how it looks like a minotaur, even though it is heavily muscled, and the hair looks like hair and not like a rug randomly glued to any extremity available. And it has the traditional cloven legs, not rippling fields of undulating meat contracting like an ocean of giant spasmodic penises. I fucking hate how they have completely ruined the flavour of the Beastmen army, leaving it bland and tasteless. Genericised for mass consumption it's like Big Mac special sauce but with the main ingredient being blood-flecked ejaculate. And it will be you fuckers that perpetuate this artistic blight. Twenty seven pounds sterling for three models. Like Tyranid Ravenors but shit. A massive let-down after the Trygon kit.

Right, it's midnight and I have had enough of the lack of taste that GW preys upon to shift most of it's fucking product. You may deserve this shit, but I don't.

Angry at the river of cash avoiding him

Monday, 18 January 2010

Madly in anger with you ...

Well, I'm back. I know, I know, I'm a lazy bastard who should blog more regularly. Obviously, I have nothing better to do because I spend most of my time snorting cocaine out of chorus girls' arseholes so I should be able to find the time to pause the hedonism and reconnect with the misfits who read the shit I post about. If I gave two squirts about the readership I would post more, but as I don't you can wait. The only way I'll be a regular blogger is if Metallica decide to follow this excremental tripe. And let's face it, I have more chance of becoming intimate with Gillian Anderson than that happening, so fuck you and your demands.

As to what I have been doing, well, that would be work. Fucking work takes up so much time I yearn for unemployment with it's scads of free time and high social status rather than the retail hell where I have to be nice to the life hoovers that suck away any vitality I have like socially inept, overweight psyche-vampires. Yes, I do mean you, fatty. The pointless tasks I have to perform daily grind down the poet in me like a particularly effective form of cult indoctrination. I am also less than keen on the almost exclusively male province of this past time. Far to many XYs about.

Hold on, I hear you cry. You said 'almost exclusively' which means some form of woman should come into the shop at some point. Why yes, they do. However, they are exclusively of the girlfriend/mother variety. I am reduced to purchasing the culinary services of beautiful women for my thrills. My only social interaction with the fair sex is purchasing a fucking breakfast sandwich or selling them something for their boyfriend/child and that is all.

Enough making you feel better about your lot and on to what little hobby I have been doing. After all, that's what you're here for. As you know, I have decided to do the Tyranid thing for my 40K army and here is the start: one Mawloc. Fully assembled and with some basecoat on the chitinous armour plates:

I am going for a more naturalistic feel than the standard 'nid scheme because I don't see why the most adaptable killers in the galaxy would forgo camouflage just because they are hard as coffin nails. I am also trying to get 20 points of my Skorne done for February, so here they are in their unpainted glory:

It's for a tournament and is as follows: Tyrant Xerxis, a full unit of Cataphract Cetrati, 2 Cyclops Brutes, an Agoniser and a Bloodrunner Master Tormentor - nice and simple and hopefully a quick paint as well. All the models will be painted with P3 paints (the colour on the Mawloc is P3 Battlefield Brown) so with a bit of luck I'll be able to use the fucking range soon.

I also have to paint a random fantasy miniature for a painting competition I'm running at Wargames Inc so if any of you fancy putting brush to model and entering pop on down before the end of February and I'll cave your fucking face in with the till. Or let you enter the compy. It depends on how capricious I'm feeling.

I haven't done any sculpting and my literary output has slowed simply because of the amount of time the shop takes up, which isn't sitting well with me. I always swore I wouldn't become a worker drone but it seems I'm becoming what I hate. Irony sucks. But not as much as you.

If you've managed to force yourself to read this far and are a regular (you really should have something better to do than read this bollocks) you might remember I promised a picture of the last miniature I painted before I had a break from the hobby (got a life and got some at the same time). Well here it is, one old school warrior of chaos (a Perry sculpt, I think):

The pictures are a bit blurry because I took them with my camera phone, but you can't have everything, can you? Otherwise I'd be a lottery winner in a posh whorehouse by now. Or I'd hire prostitutes to come to my batchelor pad. I wonder if you get a cheaper rate if you hire them to clean your flat with no sex? Send me a couple of grand and I'll find out for you.

Well, I'm running out of polite conversation, so I'll draw this entry to a close. I still haven't had any, I'm still a slow-ass painter and I still lose too much of my life to work. Status quo it is. That's right, my life is still the same three fucking chords all the damn time, even in this brand new decade. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, I suppose.

Angry at the phallocentric nature of the hobby