Tuesday, 20 March 2018

I have nothing against Duncan Rhodes' face...

but, if we're being honest, it would be more useful to me if the WarhammerTV Tip Of The Day video thumbnails had pictures of the things being painted.

That having been said those videos are really helpful. One of the problems with printed painting guides is that they can't show you how to apply the paint. Games Workshop painting guides are especially bad for this since they describe about three different painting techniques as “layering”. Sometimes, especially when your eyesight isn't that good as in my case, it can be hard to tell if some of the more subtle differences in colour are actually layering or highlighting.

With a video, however, you can literally see how the paint is applied. I'm one of those people who learns best by watching and imitating. The most useful thing to me has actually been having a clear visual example of how much to thin my paints by and confirmation that the awful first coats I'd achieve were meant to look like that.

That last one was actually quite affirming. It also helps that I now have this enormous open source recipe book for painting methods even if Duncan Rhodes' face makes it a little hard to find that I'm looking for.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Does Infinity War even need a plot?

[SPOILERS for the Infinity War trailer if you were hoping to go in completely spoiler free.]

Okay, okay, okay, I know this is going to be the big pay off to the whole Infinity Stone business that has been underpinning the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years now. The thing is a friend and I were talking about how Marvel are going to cram in so many characters and still be able to have a solid plot to the whole thing.

And I think we need to be prepared for the fact they might not be able to and that it might even be the right decision.

Love it as I do, Avengers Assemble did not have much of a plot. They get brought together, they fall apart, they get back together again and then there's a big long fight that's just set piece after set piece for most of the rest of the film. The joy of the first Avengers movie is seeing how all these characters you'd been looking forward to bumping into each other play off one another.

And that was totally the right way to go.

Now Age Of Ultron is not a film I am not even half as fond of. Mostly that's because it just tries to do the same plot as the first film with robots instead of aliens. There are scenes that I adored, mainly the ones during and after the big party in Stark Tower but the main plot left me rather cold.

With Infinity War, of course, there are all these new characters meeting for the first time or at least for the first extended period outside the fight scene in Civil War. Case in point: the clip from the most recent trailer with Starlord being a condescending prick to Stark or Peter Parker thinking Doctor Strange's name is made up.

I'm not going to lie, that is much more the sort of thing I'm going to this movie to see than the exact mechanics of if and how purple Stone Cold manages to collect all the McGuffins. Obviously there has to be a plot but I wonder if it should be kept to a minimum and have the actors' interactions carry the film in character scene after character scene until the big old fight.

Sort of like The Five Doctors, actually, a story where the author happily admits that he just gave up on plot in the face of a laundry list of characters, monsters and callbacks he was expected to weave into it.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Forgebane and the backlog

Later this morning I'll be ordering my copy of Forgebane. My test models are proceeding apace, though the Voss Prime colour scheme did not work out for me and I'm going back to the drawing board on that. I just don't want to do Mars, ultimately. Anyway, the set was expensive and contains a lot of models plus I've come to an arrangement with a friend to take his Necron half of Forgebane off his hands. So here's the deal:

Aside from the special event Chaplain I'm going to have a chance to buy next weekend I am not going to buy a single model until I have finished painting all of the Forgebane models. At least the ones from my set, anyway. That twenty-seven models (or forty-one with the extra Necrons but let's keep things realistic).

So its another chance to address the backlog and to make sure it doesn't get any worse. For a start there's a small box of second hand Tyranids I need to get around to and the Mechanicus models I'm planning to recondition for this new army.

Time to get started on some old projects.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Forgebane thinkings

Forgebane pre-orders are this weekend and I really want the little Knights. If I have my maths right, even before you count the new stuff its still a £20 discount. So, here's the question: what to do with it all.

Now, I do have some Mechanicus stuff I impulse bought when it all first came out. Typically for me I didn't get much done on them. I painted a couple of Vanguard with blue robes because I vaguely liked the idea of representing the Ultramarian forge world of Konor. I've gone off that idea since mainly because I just did not like how those models looked in blue. Its a bad colour for them, it makes them look too small.

I don't have a Necron army but I've often thought having one might be cool. I could always just sell the Necron stuff on eBay though I doubt I'd get a good price on any of it because you know that so many people will just be buying this stuff for the Armigers and flipping the rest of the stuff for a profit thus no profit for anyone because market saturation.

Not that I have any grounds for complaint given the number of dirt cheap Tyranid Gargoyles I've snagged because no one wanted them from their Start Collectings. I've never figured out why, I adore Gargoyles.

Anyway, Adeptus Mechanicus and Necrons. What would I do with them?

Adeptus Mechanicus: Forge World Voss Prime

The Stygies VIII colour has some appeal, I admit, but I have so many black armies that I think the black robes might bore me out of the army. Most of the other sub-factions are in various combinations of black, grey and red which is a bit too standard for me. Then I saw that the new Codex has a whole double page spread of new forge world colour schemes including...

Voss Prime. Skitarii who look like Swiss Guards. You don't tend to associate the Mechanicus with bright colours but the key art from the Codex here looks so good. It will also hopefully assuage my occasional desire for a Howling Griffons army. Voss Prime is apparently known as “The Right Hand Of Mars” thus giving me a valid background reason for using the Martian Forge World Dogma: Glory To The Omnissiah which allows you to randomly generate two Canticles of the Omnissiah each turn.

Voss is also the closest forge world to Armageddon which would be a nice excuse for them to be tooling around with my Savlar Chem-Dogs until I have a proper army's worth of either.

Necrons: The Pirate King Thaszar the Invincible

There is comedy Necron background. At the very least there is Necron background with a funny idea at the heart of it. You see, there was this exiled Necron noble called Thaszar. He was exiled and placed into hibernation on his Tomb Ship on what would become an Imperial world. Millions upon millions of years later the master program of the Sarnekh Dynasty crownworld sends out a recall order to his Tomb Ship and he wakes up, destroys the Imperial capital as he blasts his ship free of the planet's crust and returns to the world of his birth.

Except the master program for some reason issued his recall but didn't wake anyone up.

So our boy Thaszar hacks the master program and convinces it he's the phaeron of the dynasty and has that concept hard coded into every single Necron on the Sarnekh crownworld Zapennec. And he isn't happy to just be king, oh no, he decides he's going to be a pirate king.

Yes, an entire army of Necron space pirates.

I will restrain myself from converting an Overlord to have a tricorn hat but I intend to go absolutely overboard with the colour scheme. Lots of regal blue with gold accents, maybe even some white panels around chest and legs to make them look like Napoleonic naval officers. Maybe even work out a rank system represented by how much gold is on the body.

I might have to think heavily about how of even if I can incorporate the Triarch units. On the one hand they're not something Thraszar would have been able to reprogram as they wouldn't have been hibernating on Zapennec (I don't think) but on the other they seem so intent on re-establishing the Necrontyr empires that they might just accept that this guy exists and has a huge space navy so they'll just try to enforce the rules on him in the hopes that he'll at least be useful.

I'll have to do a lot more background reading before I decide whether that's a viable storyline or not.

The Test Models

One thing I've learnt the last couple of months in my little hobby renaissance is the value of a good test model. I tend to go for an ordinary trooper of some variety but since I have a Magos Dominus to hand from aforementioned impulse purchases I might as well go all out and start with generals.
So, in the red corner we have the Adeotus Mechanicus Magos Dominus with his Pope hat (I love the Pope hat) who is going to get the halved red and yellow Voss Prime colour scheme. In the green corner we have the Necron Overlord who will be getting a suitably naval ceramic design in various blocks of white and regal blue. I can already see it in my head: regal blue on the limbs and the side of the torso, bone white on the ribcage and certain elements of the legs, gold helmet and lower arms. I'll probably keep the resurrection orb and scythe in the traditional green to have some of the more common Necron visual signifiers.

To the painting table...

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Weekly War Report #6

A light week, to be honest.

Finished (well, finished off) Models

For a start, there was a small furniture collapse in my room that smashed and mangled beyond repair two Termagants, my Genestealer Patriarch and the very nearly almost certainly finished Easy Build Plague Marines. It also did a small amount of no good to my Blight-Hauler which is not missing a couple of spikes.


No actual finished models. To be honest, this little incident rather knocked the wind out of my sails for a day or two.

Games Played

Had a quick 50 power of 40k: my Tyranids against Matt's Death Guard. I got tabled but not before taking out all but four or five of his models. I am still running a mainly combat-oriented list because that's what was mostly painted and I think that what I really need is more range on the army to soften up the opponent before reaching combat, especially super-elite armies like the Death Guard.

Anyway, on to the painting table:

Deathwatch Kill-Team and Librarian
A little highlighting and the golds on the Kill-Team are done. After that a little tidy up and I can get started on the chapter shoulder pads, which is the fun bit. Or maybe not because the sergeant is a Star Phantom and that means painting a flat white and then filling in the small chapter symbol in black.


Anyway, I also made some progress with the Librarian from Kill-Team Cassius. He needs more work than the Kill-Team including a little extra work on the golds which did not come out as consistently as I'd like, especially the big winged blood drop on the leg. I am happy with the shoulder pad, though, which has a very (for me) consistent bone colour. Its about three or four thin coats of Rakarth Flesh and I feel that I'm making progress in the multiple thin coats department.

Chameleon Skinks
This did not come out how I imagined it. I painted the shields of my Skink Cohort in the Slaanesh-themed purple greys and thought it might make a good skin tone for the Chameleons. I was wrong and I think I might redo these in a green or something. Either that or try improving the look with something darker on the back scales.

Purestrain Genestealers
The other week Tom sold me some old Tyranids of his. The box contained mainly second and third edition models, which I don't mind because I quite like those old designs. The super-thin and delicate looking, metal Zoanthrope I adore and am using as a Neurothrope. Anyway, the box contained about twenty old-style Genestealers.

They do, of course, look very different from the modern Genestealers so putting them next to each other looks odd. So I'm painting these in my Jormungandr colour scheme but I'm planning to use them as Purestrains in my Genestealer Cults army. I just have to work out whether those big growths on their backs are meant to be carapace or skin of some sort before I go further in painting them.

Savlar Command Squad
And, finally, the first Officer and Command Squad for my Savlar Chem-Dogs. Now, for those just coming in, this is my “2-for-1” army: an army that can be Traitor Guard units for my Genestealer Cults and an Imperial Guard army in its own right. The other week I finished a test model that was just an ordinary lasman and now I wanted to try out the conversion and colour scheme on a unit that I can't use for the Cults just to make sure it works for the Guard. 
I think it does. I have to work out a colour for the cuffs on the officer and standard bearer, how I want to paint the details on the banner and so on. I'm using a rather heavier Karak Stone drybrush to really build up the colour. Looking at how the fatigue colour came out on the standard I'm really looking forward to trying out the scheme on a vehicle.

Okay, now I want to see Cena/'Taker at Wrestlemania

He can smell what the Rock is cooking...
and it smells like Texas barbecue.

I wasn't sold on the idea before, in fact I was violently opposed to it. I did not like Reigns/'Taker last year. I get that Undertaker wanted to go out on his back and he deserved to go out on his own terms. I actually like Roman Reigns even if I think the company has been booking him with staggering incompetence for years and ignoring more over talent in favour of him (Braun Strowman most especially). Still, Mark Calaway got to go out the way he wanted to and I was one of those in favour of us never seeing him on television again except for his inevitable Hall Of Fame induction and maybe as a shadowy figure beckoning from the top of the ramp the day Kane retires.

Then Monday's Raw happened and John Cena cut an in-ring promo on the Undertaker that was, to be frank, the return of the Cena I adore. He stood there in the ring, worked the crowd like a champ and demanded the Undertaker get over his own ego, get up from his defeat last year and get back in the damn ring on the grandest stage of them all.

Cena is a master of the promo and he felt more engaged here than he did at any point in his recent feud with Roman Reigns. I particularly loved the bit where he whips up the crowd by asking them who wanted to see him get his ass kicked at Wrestlemania.

You've got to love a man who get a crowd violently calling for his blood at his own insistence.

So, yes, I want to see this now even if only to see a better final match for the Dead Man. Also, to be frank, this was the match I was hoping would be booked for 'Taker's retirement and I know I'm not the only one.

And, finally, the biggie: should Cena win?

The Streak is long dead, this would likely actually be the end for Mark Calaway in the ring as he'll be fifty-three when the match comes round. There's no pressing business reason that Undertaker needs to win: he's either disappearing properly after this or continuing in this one match per year schedule (and, no disrespect to the man, that's probably wise). Cena, meanwhile, is still the face of the company and an ongoing prospect because even if he is continuing only as a part timer he's still there a hell of a lot more than Undertaker.

But I still think 'Taker should win. I think giving the Streak away the way they did was a mistake, I think losing to Reigns in his retirement match was never going to solve the problems the company is having with getting Reigns over.

And from what I've read about him and seen in interviews, Cena's an honourable guy with a lot of respect for his elders in his industry. Maybe this is all about giving Calaway the retirement match he deserves instead of the one that serves the best interests of the WWE. Call me a bluff old sentimentalist but maybe the Dead Man deserves one last win on the grandest stage of them all against the biggest name on the roster.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Knight Armiger

I have to admit, this little fellow is making me consider an Adeptus Mechanicus army again. Now, I love Imperial Knights (and Empire Knights and Bretonnian Knights and Cold One Knights and all the other knights) but I have to admit that the Armiger is a lot closer to what I imagined when I read Graham McNeill's Mechanicum nearly a decade ago.

That's not a criticism of McNeill (probably the world's foremost Knight fan) but just a reflection of the fact back then Knights were an all-but-forgotten artifact of deep lore and not a thing you could buy in store. So you had Knights as something an unaugmented human woman could keep pace with and have a chat with the pilot at the same time.

(If I'm mis-remembering that scene, my apologies, it has been a few years).

According to the Warhammer Community post about them you can take them in squadrons, the first Lord Of War choice that can be taken like that. They're built for hunting, basically, softening up enemy vehicles and engines before the bigger Knights come in to finish them off.

Imperial Knights now have their own version of Mounted Yeomen, which I rather like. I also like that the melta weapon is actually called a thermal spear. It looks fast, too, with the back-jointed legs.

I do hope it has an alternative head. I like the one in the example but it matches the Mechanicus head the main knight has and I'd like one to match the “noble” head which I prefer (even though I am considering these as part of a Mechanicus force).

Monday, 12 March 2018

Top 5 Doctor Who seasons that need Bluray box sets

In June, the BBC are releasing the first Bluray season box set for classic Doctor Who. They're starting with Season Twelve, Tom Baker's first season, and I can't fault them. It might not be his best season (fan consensus would peg that a year further on) but it does have a lot of big monster stories including Genesis of the Daleks, a big UNIT romp as the opener and the era-defining Ark In Space all wrapped up in an ongoing narrative that actually moves from one story to another pretty smoothly.

Good choice... but... you know what other seasons might make good box sets? (Hint hint...)

#5: Season Twenty-Five (Sylvester McCoy Year 2)

I'm sure the consensus pick for McCoy would be Season Twenty-Six which has all the real “Dark Doctor” stuff but, for me, the Twenty-Five is the better season. You have a super strong opener in Remembrance of the Daleks which is always seems to be the story fans pick as the archetypal McCoy story. The Greatest Show In The Galaxy and The Happiness Patrol are both brilliantly odd stories that show how good the McCoy era could be outside the world of old monsters and continuity and I really feel that's something that should be showcased more for the Seventh Doctor era.

Okay, Silver Nemesis is weak as a story and one of the low points of the era but each of McCoy seasons has a dud and Silver Nemesis, in my humble, is still better than Battlefield, the dud of the supposedly stronger Season Twenty-Six.

#4: Season Twenty (Peter Davison Year 2)

I have to admit an odd thing: I adore Peter Davison as the Doctor but I genuinely have trouble recommending individual stories to people wanting to try him out. Okay, Caves of Androzani is fantastic but it gives off a very off-putting vibe when the best story for a character you can recommend is the one where he dies.

Also, Twenty isn't even my favourite season of Davison's. I genuinely think Nineteen is better even if the final story is a fluffy bit of nothing that squandered what little drama could have been wrung from Adric's death. Twenty, however, has a lot to recommend it from the season showcase point of view, especially if you include The Five Doctors at the end (which you should). Mawdryn Undead and Enlightenment are very strong stories even if the middle part of the trilogy doesn't work in any fashion. Arc of Infinity is a flash Gallifrey story that at least sets up a few things about The Five Doctors even if, again, a lot about it doesn't quite work. Snakedance is, of course, amazing and I have a personal soft spot for The King's Demons which at least has some great costumes and some gloriously bizarre line readings from Mark Strickson.

In short: lots of monsters, lots of at least recognisable continuity for the modern series fan and no less than two stories of glorious scenery chewing from Anthony Ainley.

#3: Season Two (William Hartnell Year 2)

Its long. The sixties seasons were long and at thirty-nine episodes this actually weighs in as one of the shortest plus only two of them are actually missing which makes it the most complete season of the black and white years. That is actually part of the appeal in picking this one: only two episodes to do reconstruction on and you can get away with just doing them as a slide show or even just using the William Russell in-character narration from the VHS release since no one is really going to mine if you just... skip doing full reconstructions on the story with blackface in it.

Aside from the practical aspects there is the sheer breadth of stories in this season: there are two very different Daleks stories; a story about the TARDIS crew being shrunk that uses all this fantastic Victorian stage craft to achieve its effects; some straight science fiction stories in The Rescue and The Space Museum; two fantastic pure historical adventure serial-style romps in The Romans and The Crusade; the first pseudo-historical The Time Meddler featuring Peter Butterworth as the Meddling Monk, a character William Hartnell has the time of his life bouncing off; and the ultimate Marmite story in all of Doctor Who, The Web Planet, which I adore and is worth watching just for how strange everything is.

#2: Season Fourteen (Tom Baker Year 3)

The height of the show's imperial phase after which it was struck low by Mary Whitehouse but a really strong season regardless. You've got two of the best companions the series ever had appearing in this season: Lis Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith and Louise Jameson as Leela, both putting in some of the best performances of their tenures. You've got some of the real writing highlights of the series, too, with The Masque of Mandragora, The Deadly Assassin and The Robots of Death. Actually, Robots is something of a go to for me when people ask me for a classic serial to try out the old stuff. Its an Agatha Christie/Isaac Asimov mystery mash-up with the most gorgeous (and, as the producer had just been fired) budget destroying set and costume design in the classic series.

Okay, The Hand of Fear is weak and The Talons of Weng-Chiang... ugh. Even now I want to give it a pass on the strength of Jago and Litefoot alone but damn is that a racist story and the box set will probably need one of those “it was the times” labels they put on Tintin books now (which is a good thing, by the way, I am not complaining).

#1: Season Ten (Jon Pertwee Year 4)

Plain and simple bias: I think this is the best season of classic Doctor Who as a season. It starts off with The Three Doctors which is this fantastic birthday party of a story. It establishes a lot of Gallifrey lore, of course, and has the UNIT crew on hand as well as the two previous Doctors so there's a large ensemble cast of fun characters going up against a threat from the dawn of Time Lord civilisation. After that there's Carnival of Monsters, another perennial favourite recommendation of mine, which is a rather low key story but with such an interesting format and central concept along with some interesting design work on the alien parts of the story. It also has alien carnival folk Vorg and Shirna, one of the all-time best Robert Holmes lovable rogue double acts (and so married).

That's followed by the twelve episode Dalek epic Frontier in Space/Planet of the Daleks which has a somewhat odd but probably smart format. Frontier is this politically-charged conspiracy thriller featuring the Master in all his urbane glory whilst Planet is this very traditional Flash Gordon-style adventure serial by the Daleks' original creator Terry Nation. In honesty, in many ways Planet is a remake of the original Dalek series from 1963 but its an entertaining remake for all that.

Then, finally, there's The Green Death which has some horribly mangled politics (if we're being generous) but its the last hurrah of the main UNIT-era cast; Pertwee gets some of his best comedy moments in this story; and the maggots are one of the iconic visuals of the entire series.

So that's my list and, as to the already announced Season Twelve box set, I look forward to finally seeing what the giant clam looks like in HD.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Weekly War Report #5

Its been a good week. I might not have got as far with the Store Founding Terminator Captain as I'd have liked but plenty more got done, including a frantic attack on the basing shelf to get some more projects across the finish line.

Completed Models

This started out as a test model for my Genestealer Cults army and in the painting it sort of became something a little more. On the one hand I absolutely do want an Imperial Guard/PDF contingent for the Cults but I have also been trying to get around to doing a proper Guard army for years. So, with a little extra clipping and filing on the Genestealer Cults upgrade components this will be not only a part of my Cults army but also a Savlar Chem-Dogs army in its own right.

Also, I tried a Mournfang Brown rim on the base this time which works a lot better than the Rhinox Hide I used on the Familiars.

The model affectionately known in the gaming group as “Herbie the Loathe Bug” is finally finished. I really like how the green came off on the larger panels and I'm thinking of doing more vehicles / daemon engines in the army once I have a few more infantry models polished off.
A nice big group of Termagants, the largest unit I've finished for Hive Fleet Jormungandr so far. I'm happy to say the colour scheme continues to work well even if it isn't as time saving as I'd initially hoped.

The big fellow was a lot of fun to paint and I feel indebted to the eBay seller not only for posing it perfectly but giving it the right head to use as a Screamer-Killer, which is my favourite kind of Carnifex. It came primed so, sadly, a few bits of flash escaped notice until I was painting it but its not too noticeable IRL.

And, finally, a trio of Venomthropes who were an absolute joy to paint once I stopped overthinking them. I kept trying to find something extra and special to paint differently to pick them out but the beauty of Tyranids is in having a huge horde of different creatures in uniform colours so in the end I just blanketly applied the same methods as on the rest of the army and I think they came out beautifully.

Work in Progress

Not much more progress on the Marshal since Sunday, really just getting the inks applied to the metallics. I'm still rather mulling over what to do with the leather loincloth.
There are still a lot of fiddly details yet to finished on the Goliath test model and I only started the base because I was painting some other things Leadbelcher at the same time.
I want to say “these are close to done and I'll probably start the basing in a session or two” but these models are an absolute nightmare for noticing yet more hidden details just when you think you've actually finished one. Still, they're coming along.
The Genestealer Cults Magos is progressing, even if I will have to go back over some of thatr highlighting to tidy it up, the middle section of the model's body not being the most accessible of areas.
Whilst his friend the Patriarch finally has some large block colour painted. Next step will be the carapace, which will take a few layers since I went with grey undercoat for this one. I also find myself giving more thought than I perhaps need to about which Space Marine chapter the various helmets scattered around the model will be painted as.
And, finally, a small group of eight Termagants I got off eBay in a job lot with a bunch of other little gribblers. I started with these because it means I'll have a nice large block of twenty Termagants to set down on the table (or for the Tervigon to shart out over a couple of turns).

50/500 Challenge Hobby Tracker

Astra Militarum Savlar Chem-Dogs: 1 model / 0 power
Death Guard and Nurgle Daemons: 2 model / 9 power
Deathwatch: 1 model / 0 power
Genestealer Cults: 2 models / 0 power
Lizardmen: 6 models / 30 points
Tyranids: 29 models / 45 power levels
Total Models Painted

Five more power and the Tyranids have passed the benchmark. I also really need to get back to painting that Deathwatch Kill-Team.

I'm trying to care about Marvel's Fresh Start

There's another line-wide Marvel refresh on its way and... ugh. Enough, Marvel. Legacy only just happened. Actually, that's not a bad place to start with this one. There are events teased in the Marvel Legacy one-shot that aren't even going to start happening until Fresh Start. That Wakandan Space Empire won't come up in Black Panther until the series gets its Fresh Start relaunch with exactly the same creative team, far as I can tell. The return of the Fantastic Four is no closer to being a thing now than it was when we saw Franklin and Val space surfing into the distance at the end of the one-shot.

We've reached a point where relaunches are so close together they're outpacing each other.

And its just boring now.

Marvel. Tell good stories. Advertise and distribute them so people know you're telling them. Take advantage of the fact you're owned by a massive multi-media conglomerate that can crush Diamond and get your product into practically every retail space in existence. Stop it with the bloody line-wide relaunches. Accept the fact that you're working in a very slow medium (in terms of release schedule) and that thing need time to build up momentum.

Its not that most of what been announced is bad (though giving Amazing Spider-Man to the “Captain America is a Nazi guy” is a pretty classic example of white guys failing upwards) but given how short the Legacy era has been I see no reason to care.

Some it sounds good. Dan Slott on Iron Man is a good pitch given how long, varied and full of ideas his Spider-Man run has been. It would be better if there was any sense that Riri Williams had any sort of future waiting for her after Bendis floats off to DC but on its own Dan Slott on Iron Man is a damn good pitch.

Not that it even matters. And I don't mean “for me”. It doesn't matter. There'll be the big sales spike on the first issues, a month or so down the line a bunch of promising but not instantly high-selling titles will get the chop and then in probably less than a year we'll be here yet a-bloody-gain just as Legacy led us here because this is a company perfectly happy to maintain a mediocre sales platform solely dedicated to reaching a shrinking niche audience of men who look just like me.

I've seen dying industries before but the comicbook industry might be the first one I've ever seen that's actively suicidal.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Can we have del Toro's At The Mountains Of Madness now, please?

Guillermo del Toro finally won an Oscar. About damn time and, God love him, he asked to check the envelope because after last year its worth checking.

So now Guillermo del Toro is Oscar Winning Director Guillermo del Toro. Hopefully this means he'll get another shot at an old passion project he's had to shut down twice already: his adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness. The most annoying reason he shut the project down was because Prometheus was (apparently) based in part on that story.

I think we can agree that was not necessary or something the world of cinematic art needed to have happen.

Fuck Prometheus. If nothing else whilst playing through Pokémon HeartGold I needed reminding there are things I despise more than Johto.

Did you know that James Cameron was going to work on del Toro's At The Mountains Of Madness and bring his Avatar 3D technology with him? That was going to happen and then it didn't because of bloody Prometheus.

I want to see what del Toro, a man who has such a fantastic understanding of horror in so many of its form, does with Lovecraft. I want to see a good Lovecraft movie before I die and there is a truly fantastic director who wants to make one based on probably the best short story you could choose to adapt (not necessarily the best Lovecraft story but probably the one in which there is the most actual action to film instead of people sitting and reading letters). I adore del Toro's work andit is so frustrating that half the time you hear about him its because a projevct has fallen through.

And its been years since bloody Prometheus.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Black Templars Marshal progress

I was so close to actually finishing this guy on time and then I got floored by a vicious cold. Still, its not too far from done:

Not much left to do: I need to ink and highlight the metallics, highlight the cape, fill in the leather loincloth, finish the white on the chapter symbol and few other small details. Its been a fun model to paint and surprisingly easy to follow all those bits of metallic trim.

I actually liked how the crux terminatus came out and I have to find some other stone objects to paint just like this.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Fuck Johto 2k18 continues...

The squirt bottle.

So there's this roadblock on the way to Ecruteak City on Route 36 where a Sudowoodo is blocking the path and you're told by a woman standing by it that it moves when splashed with water. I thought, logically, that this meant I needed a Water-type Pokémon to proceed. This seemed odd but I went looking anyway.

A frustrating hour later I resorted to the internet and the actual solution to this is pure adventure game moon logic.

There is a flower shop in Goldenrod City, which the lady on Route 36 says she works at. Once you have defeated the Goldenrod gym leader you can go to the flower shop and the NPC there will give you a squirt bottle that you can use to squirt water on the Sudowoodo which will make it attack you.

I'm sorry but that's obtuse and one of the most obscure solutions this series has ever thrown at me.

Fuck Johto 2k18.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Some random Thor: Ragnarok thoughts

Last night I watched the Thor: Ragnarok bluray and, on second viewing, it remains probably my favourite MCU movie. Part of this is sheer personal bias: I love when superhero stories are a bit weird and silly; Planet Hulk is one of my favourite storylines ever; I've always prefeRred the Chaotic Neutral interpretation of Loki; and, between Hela and Valkyrie its clear that Taika Waititi and I have very similar tastes in... certain regards.

One aspect of the film that I really appreciated the second time around was the bit with Surtur at the beginning. Now, a lot of these movies start with one of these short mini-adventures to let us know the characters have other adventures between movies but this one just felt different, if that makes sense. It seemed clearer here that the unseen or briefly glimpsed adventures are as big and silly and bizarre as the ones that get whole films dedicated to them. This wasn't just hunting down a random Hydra cell, this was a full-on quest across the stars leading to an epic confrontation that we get to see the ending of.

Then there's the mid-film divergence that is Sakaar. Okay, its unfair to call it a divergence because it is highly plot-relevant and without it we'd be missing a whole lot of memes about how Loki fucked Jeff Goldblum (no one refers to that character as the Grandmaster, have you noticed that?) but, again, its a nice view of how varied the life experience of these characters can be.

Frankly, the only downside of it all is we're not going to get a proper Planet Hulk movie. Well, at least not until Mark Ruffalo retires from the role and Disney finds some K-pop kid to play Amadeus Cho and they decide to do a Totally Awesome Hulk: Return to Sakaar movie.

You know something like that is going to happen and twenty years from now I'm going to point at this post and say I bloody called it.

I am glad Jaimie Alexander was unavailable for the filming dates so Sif survives somewhere out there. I'm seasons behind on Agents of SHIELD so I don't know if she's still guest starring on that but I did like that there was another Asgardian who regularly visited Midgard for adventuring purposes.

Oh, how I wish it were practical for the Hulk reveal to have been a surprise. Still, them's the breaks.

I am looking forward to seeing Loki back on Earth. Its taken a while to get the movie version of the character to the Chaotic Neutral version I've adored since Gillen's Journey Into Mystery run and having him interacting with the Avengers again will be interesting, to say the least. I just hope he doesn't revert to villainous Loki any time soon.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Weekly War Report #4: Much Completeness

This week past has been a bit odd, real life-wise, and so I've mainly just been concentrating on finishing up some things from the basing shelf. Thus, this week its just a showcase of finished models because its the end of Fractional Progress February.

I did get one game in, my first Fantasy game of the year. I dusted off my Lizardmen for a 2,000 points bout against Matt's High Elves. I got trashed. I'm not a man to blame the dice but the simple fact is the Lizardmen are designed to tear things apart in close combat and my charge rolls were just not ideal. Still, better luck next time.

On to more substantial progress:

Let's start with the smallest thing first because my camera just wouldn't focus on them (the odd blue shadow, however, is just going to be in all this week's pictures, sorry-pardon), a pair of Genestealer Cults Familiars from the Broodcoven box set.

Still, at least the picture manages to capture the one effect on these I'm actually proud of (mostly they're just my standard Tyranids colour scheme but littler) and that's the murky white on the right-hand Familiar's loincloth achieved through drybrushing Pallid Wych Flesh into partially dried Agrax Earthshade over a Rakarth Flesh base. There's probably nowhere else to use this method in the entire army but it came out a treat.

I'm also trying something different for the Cults' bases. Right now they're an adjunct to my Tyranids but I want them to be an army of their own down the line. I'm thinking of a desert world theme and that's what I'm going for here. I think the base colour works but I'm not sure the Rhinox Hide rim works. Still, its the one part of a model that can always be easily repainted.

As to their larger cousins of Hive Fleet Jormungandr, first up we have a model it has taken my simply ages to finish, the Tervigon (again, apologies for that odd blue shadow that keeps cropping up, I can't work out where it came from):

A good boy, a round boy, I'm sure you'll agree. Once again we return to my constant shilly-shallying over whether to undercoat these miniatures grey or bone because this was done with the Zandri Dust spray and the carapace has come out better here than on any other model. However, I had to spend multiple painting sessions getting a consistent grey on the skin. Worth it, though.
I also polished off a small unit of Genestealers with scything talons and rending claws. This is the first large unit I've finished for the Tyranids and I love how the colour scheme works.

The Marines Malevolent Deathwatch Kill-Marine is done.

This was a pilot model and now I have the methods down I really want to step up production on the rest of the unit. The Stormcast Eternal-themed golds are really good, I was surprised to discover. They looked rather thin in the pot but they went on in one coat over the black. It was also nice to get a good, consistent yellow on the shoulder pad. Props once again Pop Goes The Monkey for his excellent 3D printed Deathwatch shoulder pads.

Finally, we have the cutest herald of plague and despair...

the Beast Of Nurgle. I love its silly little expression, its little wave as if its just pleased to see the people its going to kill. This model was so much fun to paint and yet so easy. The different areas of colour are so well delineated. I also tried a new pale flesh method on the belly: Rakarth Flesh, Reikland Fleshshade and a Pallid Wych Flesh drybrush. I think I might try it on my Dark Elves down the line.

Anyway, that's Fractional Progress February done! I've completed twenty-three models and that's more painting than I've done in a good long while.

50/500 Challenge Hobby Tracker

Death Guard and Nurgle Daemons: 1 model / 2 power
Deathwatch: 1 model / 0 power
Genestealer Cults: 2 models / 0 power
Lizardmen: 6 models / 30 points
Tyranids: 13 models / 31 power levels
Total Models Painted

Tyranids are now 31 power strong, that's more than halfway to hitting the 50 power target. Obviously, the Kill-Marine doesn't constitute a complete unit and the Familiars aren't worth power levels so those projects are still at zero but that's still models finished so they count.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

1 Week Project: Store Opening Terminator Captain

Against all expectation “Fractional Progress February” has been my most productive month of hobby in years. As I write this I have fourteen models completed all the way to the bases and eighteen others going through the slow, slow process of basing (it really is the dullest part of this hobby). That's not to mention all the models I've got something done on.

Its been productive, its been fun and its been really motivating.

So let's try move from Fractional Progress February to whatever theme I pick for March with a good, old-fashioned One Week Project.
Yesterday, the local GW reopened after a refurbishment and so I picked up the special Space Marine Terminator Captain you can only get on such occasions (or by spending stupid amounts on eBay, no thanks). I also got a little stampy card that will eventually get me the even better looking Terminator Chaplain. Normally I wouldn't go for it but a) both the Captain and Chaplain look amazing and b) I'm getting to a stage with the Tyranids where I want to pick up a couple of the large monster kits so I'm spending the money anyway.

Regardless, the Terminator Captain. I've built him straight out of the clampack save for gluing a Pop Goes The Monkey “Maltese Cross” on the shoulder pad to make him a Black Templars Marshal. It doesn't quite fit, its sized for power armour, but paint should disguise the slight disjoint.

Black Templars are by my favourite variety of Space Marine (and I don't see someone this gloriously decorated as a Flesh Tearer, frankly). I've wanted to do this army for a while and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

On the skills development side of things this will be a good chance to practice highlighting black. I very rarely do full edge highlighting, I much prefer drybrush highlights, but Terminator armour offers a lot of easily accessible, long sharp edges to practice on.

Let's see how far I get.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Weekly War Report #3 (Fractional Progress February week 3)

It's (Not) The End, But...

So, my housemate and I have spent a bunch of time tidying up and spring cleaning the last week so hobby time has been limited. As a consequence I haven't got anything from that big basing shelf picture last week 100% finished. A few are close, most need a lot of basing work, but I wanted to spend what spare time I had plugging away at new things so I could keep feeling that momentum rather than the basing stuff because that always feels like such a slog.

Is that just me? It just feels like every layer takes so damn long to dry. Anyway, so here's what we got for this week:


I had my second Necromunda game, this time against Dave J's Eschers in a Sabotage scenario that I won and (mostly) escaped intact from. Hilariously, my Goliath's retreat from the burning chem-still was covered by the underhive's most resilient juve. Armed only with a stubgun and spud-jacker and no statistical or armour upgrades whatsoever it took two Escher gangers and two champions to take him down. It was the sort of epic moment the small scale skirmish format is absolutely amazing for.

Close to Death

The nearest I've come to finishing anything this week are some Death Guard bits a few minor details away from done.

The Blight-Hauler just needs one more pass before I apply the sand. It was a pleasure to paint and I definitely want to get a complete unit of three together in the near future. It also gave me a chance to experiment with dark metallic methods to a varying degree of success. The brass trim is just Balthasar Gold inked with Reikland Fleshshade a couple of times which worked brilliantly whilst the head of the multi-melta and vent grilles were... less successfully drybrushed Runelord Brass. I'll try layering it on the next model.
Actually, I think I'll try layering the Runelord Brass on the face grill of that Plague Marine on the left. Its mainly been a matter of filling in small details and getting the inking done on the golds this week. To be honest, the reason for rushing these through has been to remind myself how I was painting the things so I can go back and finish all my half-done Dark Imperium models.

The Gang Show
I've done all the large, basic colours on the gang as a batch and now its time to take a single miniature and work on the detail methods. I've not got far, just basing and inking the areas that are going to be brass and filing in the mohawk. I don't think I'll go for the Thunderhawk Blue hair on the whole gang. In fact, I might give everyone different hair colours, it'll be a good way to keep the different ganger straight in my head when writing down XP and so on.

Fantasy Woman
Though 40k has been grabbing most of my attention I've been getting in the mood for some square-based stuff and so I dug out Queen Khalida here (who will be a Heirophant using the Lore Of Light in my army). I wanted to try out the yellow method I used on the Deathwatch Marines Malevolent Kill-Marine on cloth so she'd have a rather dirty and degraded once-glorious cape of sunlight gold. It came out rather well.

I am less pleased about the snake at the head of the staff. The orange looked better before I painted in the gold staff, now it just looks too similar. I'll probably repaint if red once I have the golds inked and layered up.

A Bug, Not a Feature
Newly arrived from eBay, the one indispensable element of a Tyranid army (I think): a traditional Screamer-Killer style Carnifex. I've always loved the design and this one was cheap so here it is. Sadly, I'm going to have to redo the back carapace as the ink dried a little funny. This was another big bug I undercoated in Zandri Dust which means the grey skin is taking me forever to basecoat, the alternative of course...
to undercoat them grey and then spend ages layering the Zandri Dust onto the carapace. At this stage I am genuinely resigned to the fact that neither undercoat cuts down the painting time and the choice is purely down to which colour is the majority or the most accessible on model on a case by case basis.

Team Players
And, finally, a little more work has been done on Kill-Team Pellos. Not much, just some more work on the metallics and drybrushing on the leathers. Still, progress is progress as I've been saying all month.