Thursday, July 26, 2012

Warhammer, lite

Grey Knight Nemesis Dreadknight

Ok, so let me esplain this Warhammer thing. No, there is too much... let me sum up. 

Basically a bunch of geeks paint (or sometimes buy painted) tiny figures, then play war games with them.  Most do Warhammer 40K, which has a modern warfare / sci-fi sort of feel. You can build your army with a combination of infantry, tanks, air support, etc. It's done on a point system, and you compete against another geek's army of equal point values, although you may have differing weaknesses and strengths.

How the Dreadknight arrives (1 of 3 sprues)
The guys and equipment come in pieces. You get, say, 10 heads, 10 torsos, 20 arms with varying weaponry, and 10 sets of legs, all differing slightly from each other. Plus there's a bunch of decor, kit, and gear. You build fancy bases... You mix and match the bits to create and assemble individuals that tell a little story. Then you pick your color scheme. Some slap on one coat and call it good. For true detail junkies there is layering and washes and custom sculpting. Robert does a 4 color camouflage on his men that's pretty impressive (click to embiggen). I loved watching him do his thing but the army itself didn't call to me.  Then we went to a tournament, and I saw some spectacular paint jobs on more eclectic armies, and that's when I got hooked.

Robert's commander and a few troops

Now I'm designing an army of my own. Painting 100 nearly identical grunts doesn't appeal to me, so my army is based on the Grey Knight codex (each flavor of army has its own rulebook, outlining skills, weapons, and defensive parameters) which lets me have a smaller number of powerful, hard-to-kill guys. Rather than use actual Grey Knight, Robo-Cop-looking figures, though, I'm going to alter some Warhammer Fantasy guys.

In the place of an elite squad of Terminators (giant cyber-soldiers), I'm using Warriors of Chaos. I'll make them look more human, and trim off a lot of the skulls and horns. As I said in the previous post, my aesthetic is "Medieval Badass." There will be lots of before and after pics as I modify and cannibalize in future posts.

Instead of a tank, I'm using a war elephant. To represent an APC (armored personnel carrier), I'm going to sculpt a "tortoise" formation, bristling with firepower. The designation of the pieces is identified by size & shape of the base, seriousness of their armor, and weaponry. This means that my plate- and chain-mail wearing dudes will be carrying guns. I can live with that. :) After all, I'm pairing elephant use with a much later style of dress. This is about fun, not historical accuracy.

Those of you who know me at all are no doubt wondering why I'm not fielding a Roman army. Simply put, they aren't heavily armored enough to be an "elite" squad. I'd need zillions of them, mostly cookie-cutter. And frankly, I'm much more interested in the unique designing, painting and sculpting than the war games. I may wind up building a Roman diorama just for fun, down the road... we'll see.

One final note: I am doing this on a budget. Scrounging in Robert's "extras" bin and shopping on eBay is making this a pretty cheap little hobby. Getting the right elephant from the UK ($30 incl shipping) has been my big expense so far.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A new obsession...


I've tried getting back into knitting but it's not really taking... aside from a few little projects, the wool has been neglected since I left Philly. In fact, I sold off the vast majority of my stash when I made room for Robert to move in. Kind of a shame, since I have another kilt hose pattern nearly done, and the leg is *awesome*. I'll get back to designing the cuff someday. In the past I've done drawing, sculpting, photography, sewing, and of course knitting and spinning. It was time for a new artistic hobby and here it is... painting miniatures.

Here's my first one, and I'm not thrilled with the subject matter but it's what Robert had lying around for me to play with. He looks better than these phone pics: He's just under 2" tall, with glossy black horns & nails, yellow eyes & teeth, and orange warts. His tongue is glossed, too. The body, rocks, and sword were done with multiple layers, highlights, and washes. I figured a demon probably wouldn't bother to shine up his sword. :) I hacked up an unwanted skeleton soldier to create the base.  As always, click to get a bigger view. I'll get better pics when I do my real army, which is an aesthetic I describe as Medieval Badass. I'm bending the rules quite a bit for Warhammer ... I'll explain that in the next post.

Oh, and I hate the visible seam behind the head. Robert said I shouldn't fill it in because I might not care once it was painted. He underestimated my perfectionism.