Friday 30 August 2019

2018/19 Hobby Season Review

Hi folks,

What a season it has been. Every year I look back over my finished projects and I'm surprised with what I have actually managed to achieve. This year I found it almost painful to look back, as it has been a really difficult 12 months. I am in a rather bizarre position where I am the most content with my modelling and painting skills than I have ever been, but feel completely sapped of energy to make the most of it. I'm searching for solutions, but haven't zeroed in on anything yet. As a result, there are a few projects that I really should have finished by now, that will hopefully get done by the end of the year. DreadTober is going to be epic.

That said, lets take a look at what I actually did manage to get finished...

2000 pt Dark Angels Army (2nd Edition)

This project has a bit of my heart and soul in it. Half of the models in this army were gifts that I got from my mum before she passed away 19 years ago (half a lifetime ago). The other half are all gifts from great friends, Howie, Wade, Heinz and Craig R. The theme of the army was a return to the old school Bravest of the Plains People vibe: lots of feathers and tribal names.

2000 pt Tyranids Army (8th Edition Jormungandr Splinter Fleet)

A Hive Fleet that focuses on an Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime theme, Splinter Fleet Numereji uses the Jormungandr rules to deliver snake-like Nids into the heart of the battle (or the teeth of the enemy guns, depending on my luck). It includes some really neat Aliens themed conversions.

Iron Snakes Centurions

I feel like these Centurions were a great idea but I have been stuffing around with them for so long it is grating on my nerves. I finally managed to finish the first three for Squaduary and have another three left to do before the end of the year. Armed with assault cannons, plasma cannons and storm shields, they aren't your average Centurions.

Sapphon, High Interrogator and Grand Master of Chaplains

Another model that has been rattling around for years, I added the final touches to Sapphon and took some photos with my new light box setup ( I am still trying to get it right). I love using Sapphon in my second edition army, because he has enough wargear cards to give him a jump pack and combat drugs. Happy days!

Imperial Knight Errant Progress

This knight may not be finished but I did a lot of work on it in October last year. I will be finishing this guy off before the end of the year, as part of my DreadTober pledge.

Lictor Kill Team

So deliciously gribbly, this Kill Team has proved to be quiet a nightmare on the tabletop. I love the diversity I managed to pack into this unit, as well as the Ziodberg noises I get to make when I scoot them around the board.

Eddie and The Troopers Necron Kill Team

You'll take my life but I'll take yours too,
You'll fire your musket but I'll run you through.
So when you're waiting for the next attack,
You'd better stand there's no turning back.

The bugle sounds as the charge begins,
But on this battlefield no one wins.
The smell of acrid smoke and horses breath,
As you plunge into a certain death.

Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Dark Angels Kill Team

I added a Primaris Reiver Sergeant to some old Dark Angels models to make a Kill Team with a nice spread of model vintages. I have yet to use the team itself but it has an awful lot of dakka. 

Penny's Deers

My daughter picked these for her Birthday last year and I promised to paint them for her. I have another six on my workbench that I am working on periodically. Truth is, I am nervous as hell painting them, I am so afraid of doing a bad job. I told Penny this and she said "but you know I'll love them anyway Dad, because you painted them". 

Shut up. I'm not crying, you are crying.

Imrijka, Half-Orc Inquisitor

This was my mate Joel's Pathfinder character, who I inherited. We are still playing the campaign and Imrijka continues to demon butt.

Shiro-Oni BattleMech

I converted and painted this 'Mech for Wade's Christmas present, based on a novel design cooked up by a creative artist from the Battletech International Facebook group. It was one of those projects that just fell together perfectly. Iron Wind metals delivered faster than I thought possible, I had all the conversion pieces and the experience to use them and Wade and I both enjoy exploring Japanese culture.

"Revere Heaven, love mankind"

Airbrushing Skill Unlocked!

Sooo, not exactly a To-Do goal, but it should have been. Finally unpacking my airbrush and working up the guts to use it (and stuff it up and fix it and use it some more) was probably my proudest achievement this year. I will be using it a lot more from now on.

That's it for the past 12 months. Quite a few things got finished, but I was expecting plenty more and under better circumstances. Bring on the next Hobby Season!!!

See you across the table,


Tuesday 13 August 2019

BattleTech: Beginner Box

Hi folks,

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging much the past couple of months. I always knew that the first three Terms of teaching this year were going to be hard-going, and the reality has strongly reflected those expectations. I have had to put my hobby shenanigans on significant hold, while I guided my Year 12's through their last year at school. Still, all work no play makes Marc go something something...

So, in August last year I pre-ordered the new BattleTech sets from Alpha Strike games, a Perth based company in Australia that sells a lot of BattleTech stuff. I had a hunch that it would take a long while for the products to actually reach Australian shores and I wasn't disappointed in that regard. Close to 12 months later, having saved one of the box sets to open on my Birthday (a month ago...), I finally have something to show for my patience. As a long time fan of the BattleTech universe, all I can say is WOW.

Let's start with the Beginner Box.

BattleTech Beginner Box

Beginner boxes usually contain only enough to get you hooked into the game and wanting more. For this reason, I wasn't expecting all that much. To be honest, I only really purchased it for the Griffin miniature, which you can't get any other way (well... there are ways, but I can't be bothered doing them). The Beginners set that I grew up with ~ 25 years ago had a couple of maps, some quick rules, a book of record sheets and a bunch of cardboard 'Mechs on stands, sporting "unseen"* artworks. Damned if I don't still love the heck out of that set, my whole fandom is based on it, really. So, knowing that you can get a hell of a lot out of a little bit of BattleTech, let me say that the new box is a treasure trove.

To start with, it provides some abbreviated record sheets, which omit the Heat rules. These are perfect for starter games, particularly with younger kids. I'll be photocopying these, because I'm too precious to draw all over them! The new art for the 'Mechs is sweet as.

The box comes with two miniatures, which were never a real focus of our games growing up; we used to use d8's most of the time, or those cardboard standees. For $35ish AUD, to pick up two models is not too shabby. The new sculpts are fantastic and the chassis are classic: a Griffin and a Wolverine. A Griffin (left) is a medium/long range sniper and one of my all-time favourites. Armed with a PPC and LRM 10, and jump jets to spare, it is a great 'Mech for strategic maneuvering and effective sniping. The Wolverine (right) is more of a close/medium range brawler, armed with an AC 5, medium laser and SRM 6. Neither 'Mechs are all that powerful, but in terms of the de-powered, narrative driven, BattleTech gaming I have always played, they are excellent choices for this set.

The set also comes with some special character cards that would allow you to use MechWarrriors with special abilities in your games.

Some punch-out standees of 'Mechs are provided, which really set the fires of nostalgia raging in my heart. There isn't much variety on offer, but it is a Beginner Box, after all. I am particularly impressed by the punch-out terrain hexes, which allow you to modify the layout of the map sheets provided. This is something that the earlier sets lacked, but now provides players with a degree of customisation. You could place the terrain randomly every game and never play the exact same setup twice (please don't do the math on this). 

The two mapsheets provided are much better quality than what the last Beginner offered. It is still just heavy paper but the print is detailed and beautifully coloured, with neat fold lines. The terrain setup of the basic beginner maps is pretty sparse, which can be great for learners, quick rumbles, or for narrative driven games that require some open space. There is also plenty of room on both maps to place additional terrain hexes.

The quickstart rules leave out heat management, which I think is OK for a Beginner box, though no son of mine is going to ever play BattleTech without heat, dammit. There was also a short novella in there, which had a real old school "Price of Glory" feel to it. 

Overall, for the low entry price, this set is great value. There is definitely enough here to get you going in BattleTech. Next post we'll take a look at the "A Game of Armored Combat" box that I also got, before I start waxing lyrical about the Clan Invasion Kickstarter.

See you across the table,