Friday, 22 August 2014

Avatars of War Chaos Marauders

Avatars of War have announced a pre-order deal for plastic chaos marauders. Check out the full details on their website.

I am a pretty big fan of Avatars of War and so may well get on board with this offer. However, a couple of things should be noted. The release date is February 2015, and the company is sadly often late with delivering, so be aware that it's buy now, receive next year. And secondly, the material these figures are made from is not the same as the GW plastic. It's a harder PVC material that takes a little bit more effort to clean up and prepare. I did a more thorough article about this when I reviewed their corrupters. Weighing this against the price and the aesthetic is something each hobbyist has to do themselves. If I was still a regular Warhammer player I would snap them up in a heartbeat. Now that I more of an ex-player who can't quite let go, I will probably wait until the new year and maybe pick them up from an indie trader when they are released.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Dystopian Legions Starter Set

Has there ever been a better time to be in this hobby? New releases seem to have gone into overdrive in the past few weeks, it's almost impossible to keep up with all the developments. Hobby blogs and forums are frothing with news about Star Wars expansions and skirmish games, Infinity, Dropzone Commander, Bolt Action, and of course the return of Nagash. And that's just from the established big companies, there are dozens of new demands on your wallet all the time from kickstarter projects. Phew!

We all have our own favourites, there is something out there for everyone. I have looked at Dystopian Legions by Spartan Games several times in the past couple of years. I tried to get my gaming buddy interested but he's more of a historical chap, so I always resisted, not much point in collecting an army if there's no one to play eh? But now I can resist no longer. The newly announced Iron Scorpion starter set looks to be just my thing. Here's the official blurb and some renders. Spartan Games have a good record of faithfully reproducing in metal what they show, so I'm confident they will look pretty much as these images show. Metal is not my favourite medium, but it's a price I am willing to pay to get my hands on a good quantity of decent steampunk figures.

The set is available for pre-order on the Spartan Games website. Some have complained that the price is high. It retails at £90 plus postage, though you can also pick it up from Troll Trader with a discount and free postage, which brings the cost down to a shade over £80. That works out at about £2 a figure, with scenery, tokens and rules for free. That seems reasonable to me, cheaper than some systems and about the going rate for starter sets. September 24th cannot come around quickly enough!

Friday, 15 August 2014

A little diversion

I have recently been looking into Victorian/Edwardian/Steampunk figures and fancy adding a few to my collection. There are so many to choose from, depending on what you include in the genre. I guess one way to approach it would be to decide on a game system and then buy the figures to fit. That's certainly very logical and probably what most people do. I often buy figures on a whim and fit them into a game later, and that's just what I intend to do with these little beauties.

These are from the new Malifaux plastic range, the Oiran from the Ten Thunders faction (I think). I will probably just use them to build some kind of oriental faction or gang for any one of a number of games I have been considering. I might even use them in Malifaux games, who knows!

The sculpts are very, very finely detailed, probably the smallest pieces I have ever built. I needed tweezers to assemble some of the bits. Mould lines were few and easy to scrape off with a knife. Assembly was good, all the bits fit snugly and with little need for filling gaps. I have based them on two pence coins, topped with plastic cobbles sheet.

To paint them I have ordered some fine detail brushes from ebay. I use a number 2 or number 4 brush for most of my work, swapping to a number 1 for eyes, fine lines and the like. For these figures I have ordered a 0 as well as two new 1 and 2. If I could order new eyes I would, or maybe some ocular enhancing machinery would be appropriate. Still, I am looking forward to painting them and maybe developing a faction or two. Small acorns and all that.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Dark Ages Collection

My complete collection of dark ages figures, all neatly organised in a box file. For the past year they have sat in a variety of places, including a shoe box and a pizza box! Now they have a nice new magnetic home. The box file cost me £4 from a local stationery supplier, while the magnetic sheet costs about £1 from ebay for an A4 sized sheet - this is one and a bit sheets in fact. Based on magnetic pennies, the figures are reasonably secure. If I tip the box up by 30 degrees there is no movement, but I doubt it would survive a complete upending. For storage and trips round to my mate's house for gaming, it's a good  solution.

There's about 100 figures in here, roughly half Viking and half Saxon, with a mix of plastics and metals. Still to be added are my Drabant viking archers, which remain unpainted for the time being. I could also double the number of Wargames Factory levy, but I won't because they are poor figures. I will probably use them as casualty markers, maybe as conversion fodder for zombies. I also have plenty of Gripping Beast plastic Saxons I could build, which might get done one day. But at the moment this gives me enough for two six point Saga forces, or two Dux Britanniarum starter armies, which is all I need. They will probably also be fielded en masse in Hail Caesar games, when we finally get round to it. There's something very satisfying about looking at a set of figures you have worked on, knowing they are ticked off your to do list.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Drabant Miniatures Vikings painted

The first batch of Drabant Miniatures vikings painted and ready for battle. Regular readers will remember that I have struggled to find decent quality vikings for my collection, but I am happy with these.

As with most dark ages figures, the shields are the centre of attention, and these shields are bigger than most. I had a lot of blank canvas to play with and took advantage of this on some of them. Inspiration came from several sources - the Vikings TV series, photos of carved stones, and a simplified version of religious iconography on the Russ figures. I did also put more effort into the clothing, with details added to hems and collars, but did anybody actually notice that?

Here are more photos for closer inspection, and here's the original shots of the product from the manufacturer's website for comparison. For anybody looking for vikings that tend toward the more realistic end of the spectrum, I would recommend them.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Krom Dragongaze

Krom Dragongaze, from the Sanctus Reach Stormclaw boxset, available now on ebay.

I decided I would try my luck with a painted figure, sometimes they sell well, sometimes they crash and burn. I originally bought the boxset thinking that I would paint up both characters for an ebay head to head bidding war, but I like the ork too much and have added him to Mount Unpainted. And the other orks too - not quite sure why as I have not played 40k since 5th edition, but I might be able to persuade my mate to give it another try.

The quality of the plastic sculpts is quite mind blowing when you look at this shot. They have come a long, long way since the single poses of the 1990's. Well of course they have, you might be saying, they would do wouldn't they as technologies improve and sculptors learn more? But having spent a couple of years browsing and sometimes buying historical figures, I can see a massive difference in sculpt and casting quality. Some of the manufacturers have stood still in time, yet they seem to have a big fanbase and just keep chugging along. Even looking through some old White Dwarfs I was shocked at just how poor some of the old stuff was. It was pure enjoyment to assemble and paint this beauty I can tell you!

The whole Stormclaw boxset is similarly top quality stuff. When GW put out a product like this, I love them again. All the sprues are straight from the main range, they are not simple snap together figures like in other starter sets. So effectively they are selling main range figures at about half price. Add in two characters, a mini rulebook and a high quality scenario booklet and it really is excellent value for money. Credit when credit is due, I can't think of many other sets that come anywhere near in terms of quality. If only they did a similar thing for vikings and saxons!