Monday, May 11, 2015

Has Games Workshop Gotten Its Mojo Back?

 


We've done our share of ragging on Games Workshop over the years, and Emperor knows they've deserved it. From "new paint" debacle to retail fails (not to mention stratospheric price increases, insane managing directors and skull-itis), the so-called "Evil Empire" has come in for some stick on this blog.

But we've always been big fans of the grimdark future of Warhammer 40,000. However, despite the fact our group plays 40K regularly, I've not been excited enought about the new models to buy any but a very few at full retail (even my Imperial Knight was bought online at a discount). Make no mistake, I've spent lots on GW product - but pretty much all of it out-of-print metal models for my Blood Drinkers or OOP conversion fodder/Forge World stuff for my Chaos Renegades.

But all of that may be about to change. Because Adeptus Mechanicus.

 
Last Saturday's White Dwarf featuring the new Imperial Knight Warden (and a cool paint chart) had sold out by Sunday afternoon. This followed two weeks of Mechanicus spam - Skitarii Rangers and Ruststalkers one week, and Onager tank the next. I snapped up and devoured both these issues eagerly. With these releases, GW has recaptured (for me, anyway) the coolness and nihilism of the original Rogue Trader milieu. I love the look of the half-mechanical robed Skitarii and even their walker tank is growing on me (still not sure about the Ironstriders though). I even bought the Skitarii codex!!!

I bought this. At full retail price at a GW store. Fourth sign of the Apocalypse...
But then this week, they kicked it up another notch with the Kastelan robots. Now if there were ever a modern model influenced by Rogue Trader style it's this one...

Now this is what I'm talkin' about... see any skulls? Me neither!

Awesome innit???
Okay, maybe not quite as awesome but still quite cool...
I haven't felt this inspired by a Games Workshop new release since... the Imperial Knight in 2014? And before that, maybe... the new-look Land Raider perhaps? Forge World has been consistently knocking it out of the park for me with their Heresy stuff and before that, Chaos Renegades. But the Mothership has been pretty flat for me for a few years. Until now! I have to say that these new Adeptus Mechanicus releases have me pretty stoked. Full retail on the Kastelan maniple (two robots and Techpriest buddy/handler) is $83 CAD which... I don't find completely shocking/unreasonable. And these models will be eminently suitable for duty in the Heresy as well, which makes them an even better deal. As Greg said, now that we have the Reaver Titans, it would be irresponsible not to paint some Skitarii for ground support. Of course, the truly responsible thing to do would be to add a Robot Maniple and Onager tank, right?

And it seems that many of you agree. In our recent poll, just over a third of you (34%) said you were planning to buy some Skitarii models either for 40K or other gaming, another 53% said you liked the models but had no plans to buy, and only 12% indicated they disliked the models. At least as far as our readers go, GW's doing something right.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sedition Wars Project Mini-update: Opticamo Vanguard

 I was able to buy on eBay a few more clear resin "Opticamo" Vanguard Samaritans (like the thermo-optic camouflage from Ghost in the Shell).

I just finished three more such Opticamo female Vanguard Samaritans, all armed with laser carbines. The clear resin was slightly easier to clean up than the original restic (PVC?) models. I used super glue for assembly.

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I airbrushed zenithal highlights on the lower portions of the figures, using Vallejo Black and White surface primers. I then laid in thin  glazes of GW Thrakka Green for their armour, and a little bit of Gryphon Sepia for one of the figures' carbines. Highlights were picked out with flat white. The bases were glazed with Badab Black and Vallejo Rust. The resulting effect simulates the cloaking process at different stages for each figure.

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For comparison, here's what a solid resin figure looks like:

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The basic rules don't use the thermoptic camouflage, so these new Opticamo figures can be used a regular troopers. With the addition of these three models, I now have enough Vanguard Samaritans, heroes, and drones to play all the basic scenarios in the main Sedition Wars rule book.

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I have not been idle on the Strain side. I cleaned up and assembled 28 Strain models of various types. There are 21 Necroforms, basically human corpses animated by the dreaded nano-virus plague, There are 5 2nd-level Exoforms (evolved creatures, like in Resident Evil): 3 Stalkers (close combat types), and 2 Quasimodos (large creatures with an acidic shooting attack). Rounding them out are a pair of 3rd level Exoforms: a Scythe Witch (a kick-ass close combat expert), and a Grendlr (a big creature with a nasty gun in its chest). These are now ready for priming.

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I also picked up a couple of zombie paint sets from Army Painter:
Warpaints Zombicide Core Zombie Set
Warpaints Zombicide Toxic/Prison Set

With colours such as "Brainmatter" and "Crusted Sore", I hope to give these an adequate aura of putrefaction and fear.

After this lot is done, I have in queue one each of 4th- and a 5th-level Exoforms, some strategic points from the Sedition Wars terrain set, and several corpse counters to represent both the detritus of previous battle and Samaritan casualties caused during the course of play.

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The big cabinet in our library now has a real mix of figures and models: 1/6 scale dolls from history and fiction; various 15mm and 28mm figs that I have won awards for; some 1/7 and 1/8 scale action figures from anime, comics, and TV; and a bunch of pieces for other games like CheckYour 6!, Wings of Glory, and Coaling Stations.

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Mechani-Kon 6: Army Showcase

Last month Alex and Thurston organized their sixth and final Mechani-Kon Warhammer 40k tournament. I was able to attend, and had a great time fielding a kinda retro version of my Eldar Swordwind. The TO's are not big fans of the current (7th ed.) iteration of 40k. For the event, there was no "comp" score per se. The TO's limited attendees to a single force org, so there were no allies allowed (and thus no dreaded "Tau-dar or other such ploys). The tournament was sold out, with people bringing out a lot of well-painted, themed armies.

Here follows the pictures that I was able to take of various armies. I shall post a brief batrep of my games in due course.

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Conscript Byron deservedly won the award for Best Appearance with his Chaos army (note that the roads and signs are laser cut wood from Byron's company, SG2 Creations):

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Lovely converted Helldrake flyer.

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WesS won Best Overall while fielding a beautifully painted Dark Angels force:

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SteveB's beautiful Chaos army.

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CodyB's cool Tau:

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More armies:

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Asurmen's Academy

But for the Nightwing Interceptor aircraft, the Eldar force I brought was something I would have fielded in the early 2000's: Asurmen leading several squads of Aspect Warriors, supported by a Night Spinner artillery tank. At the time of the tournament, several of my units had not seen play for years, due to the vagaries of changes in the basic rules, and an aging codex. For example, I had not played with my Howling Banshees since maybe 2009.

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Howling Banshees led by an Exarch. They were rock stars during the tournament, accompanying Asurmen as his bodyguards. With the recent release of the 7th Edition Codex Craftworlds, the Banshees don't even suck any more.

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Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryen. This Phoenix Lord tanked shot after shot during the day, and got stuck into  close combat every game. The artillery tank also was a thorn in my opponents' sides, dropping clouds of mono-filament webs from across the table.

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With Codex Craftworlds I shall be going back to fielding large (8-10 strong) Dire Avenger and Fire Dragon squads.

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My Warp Spiders, painted by Conscript Brian. Always a part of my forces, they are now (in Codex Craftworlds) one of the best Eldar units.

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The Nightwing, a Forge World resin model. During the tournament, half the time it was shut down by enemy anti-aircraft weapons, the other half  of the time it blew up stuff real good.

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As for my placement in the standings, I won the highly coveted "First Loser" award! (Because winning second place overall with no other award is truly to be the first loser!)

This reminds me of my Astronom-con experiences, where I have placed 2nd overall 4 or 5 times...