Friday, 27 September 2013

Spending Habits: Sprue Cutters Union #10

Greetings fellow wargamers and hobbyists, and welcome to the treasury. Mind the cobwebs...
This week, the most excellent Sprue Cutters Union has been set the challenge of describing our hobby spending habits. A sort of 'how does your thinking process work?' when planning and making purchases, what kind of limits you may set yourself or real world considerations that affect your decision making.

- What are your spending habits? -  

I must say, one thing I like about being a member of the Sprue Cutters Union (look here if you would like to join), is that thanks to the variety of backgrounds and modelling genres covered by the Union members, I will always get to read points of view and experiences that differ from my own, and being a tabletop wargamer and modeller, I am looking forward to finding out whether my experiences with this topic differ much from those of my scale model building comrades. 

So, what are my spending habits as a tabletop wargamer and player of Games Workshop games? Well any #warmongers reading this can probably guess, as you yourself probably have similar experiences, especially if you have been in the hobby for a while. If I tell you that I have five complete armies (remembering of course that no army is ever truly complete) for Warhammer Fantasy and six for Warhammer 40,000, plus complete armies, factions and teams for a handful of Games Workshop's Specialist games range (living and deceased), you can have a pretty good stab at the financial investment made by myself and by generous family members over the course of my hobby life.

I am assuming that collecting wargaming miniatures for the purposes of fielding them on the table top is quite different to collecting and building scale model kits for display purposes, because once you have decided which faction you are going to collect for whichever game it is you happen to be playing, you then have to (at some stage) give consideration to what and how many of each model is required to actually be able to play your chosen game.

In the old days, I would build up an army in chunks, a box here, a pack there, and in some cases these armies were supplemented by models that came in the large 'boxed games' that Games Workshop put out. I used to buy pretty much every new boxed game as it was released, and having been playing since the early nineties, that's several editions, and this included the main boxed games for 40K and Fantasy, but also the Specialist Games as they came out too, which means Space Marine, Man O' War, Gorkamorka, Battlefleet Gothic and others, so the number of models I accumulated just by buying these sets was significant, though I didn't always go on to play the armies all the models were for.

Several of my armies were built early on in my time in the hobby, typically at Christmas and Birthdays, and built up relatively quickly, but continued to grow over time. Some, like my Sisters of Battle, started off as a small contingent originally played alongside my Imperial Guard as an elite spearhead, and years later was added to in order to make it into a 'legal' army in its own right. Back in those early years, all of my models were bought from Games Workshop stores. There weren't the discounts available from some independent retailers now, and e-bay was just a dream. Suffice to say that at the end of that period of plenty and relative hobby freedom, I had accumulated most of the models I own today.

More recently, my spending habits have had to change significantly, after marriage and a mortgage, cars, a child, and a spouse that likes the finer things in life, money re-allocation was inevitable. My hobby spending was pretty much reduced to what cash and vouchers I could get from Christmas and Birthdays with pretty much zip in between. At least after I discovered a local discount independent retailer I could make the cash go further, and thanked family members for supporting me with GW vouchers over the years, but offered to save them the trip to the store and just give me cash instead. Thus ended almost all my spending in Games Workshop stores.

Three armies I own were purchsed almost complete, in incredible moments of luck, sadness, and generosity. My Ork army went from a few disparate models left over from my younger brother's abortive foray into the hobby, to a full army with the Ork Army Box which was around when the majority of the current range of models was released back when the Third Armageddon War campaign took place. I think the money came from Birthday and Christmas cash combined.

My Dark Eldar army was also purchased as complete set nearly all in one go by my wonderful wife Rebecca, with just a few bits added since to top up. Though I know you won't read this, thank you sweetheart. Finally, my Warriors of Chaos army was also bought almost complete, and the financing for this army came from money left to me by my Granddad when he passed away. He was always a supporter of my hobby, and an inspiration in my life. Thank you Granddad. My Dwarf army was inherited from my dad, after he spent more than a year buying large quantities of models both new and second hand, and then one day just handed it all over! Thanks very much Dad!

After this period of relative hobby plenty, and the changes required to how our finances were allocated, I had a good rethink about my spending habits. For one thing, I already owned more armies than any normal person perhaps should, several years worth of painting ahead of me, and wasn't getting playing time with many of my models, which when you are  wargamer first and foremost is the whole point.

This is when I discovered online trading sections on forums I frequented. I found multiple things of interest, but not being able to allocate cash to purchases, I started to consider what I had in my collection that might be tradeable. Now generally speaking, I have never been one for 'slimming down' my collection,  all of which has value in my eyes, even if just for nostalgia, but I realised that miniatures that were sitting in boxes, not being painted, not being fielded in games, were essentially worth nothing to me.

I started posting up stuff I had that was suitable for trade, and off I went. Before I knew where I was, I had traded a few small quantities of models that I was getting nothing out of for things that were expanding the armies I was using, which was fantastic. In this way, I managed to obtain Ghouls for my Vampire Counts, swapped the random metal Imperial Guard units I had (armies used to be made up of a selection of units from different worlds) for a load of Catachan models which both increased my army size and made my collection look like a unified force. I also got myself two Carnifexes for my Tyranids. All of these trades were filtering out models that were otherwise just taking up valuable space, and boosting my 'active' collections of models, with barely a penny spent.

Then came the big one. I had taken a fancy to the Ogre Kingdoms army for Warhammer Fantasy, but it would take years to build an army with the limited funds I could dedicate once or twice a year, so I had a long and hard think about a small box sitting in my garage. This box contained models for Epic, the first proper wargame I ever played, and I had an absolute boat load of models for Space Marines and Orks, as well as several Titans and a Gargant. I had been reluctant in the past to let these go, but hadn't played Epic in years, and I knew no one that played locally, and after going through what I had and getting an idea of what it might be worth, I was confident I could get myself a sizeable Ogre army by letting the Epic stuff go.

So off it went. Models, terrain, everything. I was very pleased at the quantity of models and cash I managed to aquire by trading and selling these models. In addition, I decied to trade away another little gem: fifteen metal Daemonettes for Warhammer/40K, which most sane people much prefer to the newer plastic versions, and were something of a commodity commanding a good price. I could no longer use these models in games, ever since the Warriors of Chaos and Daemons of Chaos were split into separate armies, and this still doesn't ever look likely to change, so I found a guy that wanted them, and in exchange got stuff for my Warriors of Chaos and Ogres which must have been worth four or five times what I paid for the Daemonettes.

Despite what I had decided to let go in order to fund it, by the time my traded and bought Ogre army sat before me on the table and I was adding up the value in points (over 4,000!), I was happy that it had all been worth it.

Since then, I have just added bits and pieces to my armies each Christmas and Birthday, just picking up the odd new unit that has come out. My armies are all quite sizeable now, and could stay as they are without further addition, though we all like to add the new shiny from time to time. I don't have plans for any new armies, by virtue of the fact that I simply can't play with any more armies, and there's no benefit having armies you don't get to play. I am content.

If you would like to read posts on this topic by other members of the Union, check out the links below.

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, 26 September 2013

M.A.D Wargames Club

Greetings fellow wargamers.

This is just a quick post to let you know I have added a new page to my blog, all about the tabletop wargames club I attend. If you are a player of Warhammer (Fantasy Battle) and Warhammer 40,000 (40K) living in the 'M.A.D Triangle', which is everywhere between Melton Mowbray, Leicester and Grantham, plus the surrounding areas, check out the club forum here, and say hi.

Thanks for reading...

Saturday, 21 September 2013

MAD Blood Bowl: Egdenberg Undertakers Special Report #3

Welcome Blood Bowl fans. My name is Bertwold Humpernickle, and this is my third Special Report on the Egdenberg Undertakers. Tonight, I bring you a rundown of the Undertakers' thrilling match against the Nurgle worshipping Chaos team, the Fester City Poxes...

Match 3

The Egdenberg Undertakers played this match at Fester City's home stadium, and it's fortunate indeed that the Undertakers players and the majority of their fans are either 'living-challenged', or so used to the foul aromas associated with death and disease that they just didn't care, because this sport reporter was certainly glad of his pomander, despite the extortionate prices charged by the seller at the gates! The benefits of a captive audience I suppose...

For a third match running, and second away match, the Undertakers fans outnumbered those of their opponents: twelve thousand rotting Egdenberg fans attended the game, compared to just seven thousand home fans. In addition, the Undertakers took advantage of their high attendance figures and arranged to play this match as a Testimonial match: their second in a row,  following last match where the Testimonial was arranged by the Ugly Gitz. The Poxes were also able to draft in an additional two mercenary players at the eleventh hour, giving them an advantage in the numbers game due to the single Zombie player missing the game with a smashed hand.

With a fourth Ghoul signing prior to this match, I think Rakarth von Kampman planned to take advantage of the speed boost bestowed by these players to power down the wings in snap running plays, while the Mummies and Zombies on the line of scrimmage neutered the pus ridden Chaos Warriors and the slurping Beast of Nurgle. That plan went out of the window when the Undertakers kicker booted the ball way down field and clean off the pitch for a touchback for the Fester City Poxes.

All of a sudden, the Undertakers found themselves out of position and scrambling to prevent the Poxes Pestigors from storming downfield in a vicious blitz play which smashed every Egdenberg player that stood in their way. The first half of the game was utterly brutal, and saw four players knocked out cold, three from the Undertakers (including two of the three Ghouls that started on the field), and two Undertakers players carried off to the screaming room (including the Ghoul Runner Snaegir), as Pesigor Savage Gaw ran in a touchdown to put the Poxes one nil up.

This fantastic running blitz play by the Fester City Poxes, and the number of creaking and groaning Undertakers players taking up bench space in the dugout, really had the Undertakers under pressure toward the close of the first half. With seconds remaining, the Undertakers emerged from their dressing room with an evil glint in their eyes. By the time the half time whistle blew, Wowbugger and Tramplehoof, both Poxes players, were being stretchered from the field...

The second half saw a change of pace. The Undertakers, started the drive outnumbered by disease riddled worshippers of Grandfather Nurgle, but with much chanting from the Egdenberg coaching staff, player after player was dragged off to the Poxes dugout. The turning point for the match came when the thus far virtually immovable Beast of Nurgle plowed it's jovially lethal bulk into the Mummy, Cheops the Great, and both players smashed into one another like two butting Rhinox. The crowd gasped, though that could just have been lung rot and severe asthma, and, after tense moments, Cheops the Great pushed his battered body back to its feet. The Beast did not, instead having to be dragged by a pair of festering Chaos Trolls to the dugout.

Play resumed with a frantic running play by the Undertakers, having caught hold of a lunatic squig of a ball which bounced all around behind the Undertakers offensive line, before being grabbed by Vishur. The Ghoul made a dash up the left wing, through a gap created in the Poxes line by the Egdenberg Blitzers, and screened by his team mates, Vishur ran the ball in to level the score.

By the later stages of the half, the field was looking decidedly clear of players, both dugouts overflowing with broken and bruised players. With the seconds counting down, the Undertakers set up to kick, taking care not to overshoot the kick and hand the initiative to the Fester City Poxes as they did at the start of the match. As play ensued, a Poxes Pestigor retrieved the ball, and the team began to bash a hole in the Undertakers right wing. They managed to push through, and made a break downfield to go for a second (and winning) Touchdown.

Seeing the danger, the Undertakers midfield darted right to block the ball carrier's path, trying desperately to reach the rampaging Pestigor. In the end, a coordinated pincer play allowed the ball carrier to be Blitzed, and as he ploughed into the bloodied turf, the ball bounced into the crowd. It must have been grabbed by Undertakers fans, because they swiftly booted it downfield towards the Poxes end zone. In the dying seconds of the game, Vishur sprinted around Poxes players, while Undertakers players rallied to block their opponents path to the Ghoul, and without breaking step, Vishur scooped up the ball and dived headlong into the endzone to score!

Final score: Egdenberg Undertakers 2 - 1 Fester City Poxes

This match was a really close call, the Poxes giving the Undertakers a pasting in the first half, but with the demise of the Beast of Nurgle, a ray of hope broke through the clouds of noxious fumes hanging over the field, and the Undertakers fought back. Luck was with them, and they managed to scrape a win, their second on the bounce. The Undertakers survived without serious mishap, and the team will be back to full strength for their next match, though the Poxes suffered a small number of serious injuries, and will be short of rostered bodies for their next match. The Beast of Nurgle, despite it's diabolical constitution, expired after its encounter with the unstoppable Cheops the Great, who continues his rampage through the teams playing in the MAD League.

The Undertakers next match has yet to be confirmed, but with two bashing teams played, it must be on the cards for them to face a team that plays a totally different style of game.

Until my next Special Report, this is Bertwold Humpernicke signing off.

Thanks for reading...

MAD Blood Bowl: Egdenberg Undertakers Special Report #2

Welcome Blood Bowl fans, to my second special report on the Egdenberg Undertakers. I'm Bertwold Humpernickle, and this week I bring you the rundown of the thrilling match between the Egdenberg Undertakers and the Ugly Gitz.

Match 2

For the home match against the Ugly Gitz Orc team, fifteen thousand Undertakers fans faced off against thirteen thousand bellowing Gitz away fans, with a whopping attendance of twenty eight thousand.

This match was played as a Testimonial game, and as the action played out on the field, burly and beweaponed coin collectors muscled their way through the crowds, extorting generous 'donations' from the fans.

The match was action packed from the first kick, as the Black Orc and Mummy lead offensive lines proceeded to pummel each other through the entire game, sending a steady stream of moaning and groaning players to the 'screaming room' on stretchers.

An early touchdown by Undertakers Runner Vishur, saw the home team take a one nil lead, putting the Orcs under pressure early on, though it must have been uppermost in the minds of the Egdenberg coaching team that the Ugly Gitz previous match against the Lions of the Three Rings was won for the Orcs by an Elven concession, when they found themselves without a single fit player to continue with the next drive.

The Undertakers' regenerative capabilities were working overtime this match, and despite the Orcs best efforts, the Undertakers players just wouldn't stay down. A controversial point in the match sent the fans into a rage, after the recently regenerated Zombie Herman Gerter managed to kill the Black Orc Blocker Bonecrusher in a blatant and brutal foul. The referee (reportedly busy giving a mid-match interview to this very sports reporter at the time the foul took place) and his family have since been taken into 'protective care' by the MAD League governing council.

Once the Undertakers had won the numerical advantage on the pitch, things went from difficult to downright dangerous for the fearsome Orcs still eager for a fight on the line of scrimmage, and a late touchdown, (again by Vishur, fed by a pass from the team's new Ghoul Runner Hashak) saw the Undertakers two nil up at half time.

The second half was heralded by a cheering match between the rival fans, but with home advantage and their team ahead and looking good, the Egdenberg fans succeeded in drowning out the opposition. It has been commented on that the Undead fans have an unfair advantage due to the number of Banshees attending matches these days. Unfair? This is Blood Bowl!

An over eager kick by the Gitz gave a touchback to the Undertakers, which went to team Captain Kratorus the Black, and the Undertakers then proceeded to battle their way up the right wing, players storming through the gap in the Gitz reduced line in a classic screening play. Valiant efforts by Gitz defenders saw the screening cage broken open and Kratorus smashed into the dirt by Ballbreaker. It looked like the Orcs would manage to prevent a third touchdown by the Undead, but a brutal blitz action by the Egdenberg Undertakers' second Wight Vermis Kraal blasted Ballbreaker into the stands, where the Undertakers' fans vented their pent up excitement on the unfortunate player.

With few opposing players left to stand in their way, the Undertakers ball runners took a leisurely stroll towards the end zone, while the Mummies, Cheops the Great and Setti the Spike made sure the remaining Orc players stayed down.

The final seconds of the match following the touchdown by Kratorus the Black saw an Undertakers kick ignored by the vengeful Gitz players on the line of scrimmage, with their beady eyes on one last crack at the Undertakers players, but it all came to an abrupt halt when a missed swing by an Orc Lineman saw him dropped into the dirt for his trouble. 

Final score: 3-0 to the Egdenberg Undertakers.

This match saw the Undertakers' first win of the season, and second fatality caused in two games, and in a later interview with the Undertakers head coach, Rakarth von Kampman revealed that the deal was signed on another Ghoul Runner, Ghasha, previously of the Mourkhain Murder, recently disbanded following a purge by a band of Witch Hunters.

Yet to be defeated, could this be the start of the Egdenberg Undertakers push for league dominance? I guess it's far too early to say, but a in very brief press conference, team owner Erik Schwarznacht told the media that he intended to take the Undertakers all the way to the League finals in Altdorf...

That concludes this second special report on the Egdenberg Undertakers progress, until next time, this is Bertwold Humpernickle signing off.

Thanks for reading...

MAD Blood Bowl: Egdenberg Undertakers Special Report #1

Welcome sports fans! I'm Bertwold Humpernickle, and this is the first of my Special Reports spotlighting the progress of the Egdenberg Undertakers as they battle their way through this inaugural M.A.D Blood Bowl season. But before we get our hands too soiled with grave dirt and embalming fluids (that stuff is the devil to get out of Cathayan Silk), how about a little history lesson for those uneducated in the ways of corpse puppetry and Blood Bowl?

The Egdenberg Undertakers are a relatively new team by Undead standards. Their creation is inextricably linked to the on-going feud between the Undertakers Head Coach, ‘Rakarth von Kampman’, and ‘Tomolandry The Undying’, Head Coach and Owner of the mighty Champions of Death.

Von Kampman was once the Champions star Assistant Coach, but after he and their highly successful first team were side-lined following the return of Ramtut III in 2468 (who then Captained the Champions to multiple Blood Bowl titles), von Kampman vowed to start up his own team, and surpass the achievements of his erstwhile mentor.

To that end, he dug up as many of the old first team players as he could, and vanished into the wilds. Lacking cash to finance his venture, he found a backer in the Vampire Count Erik Schwarznacht, who struck a bargain with von Kampman to bank roll the new team, though his motives at the time were somewhat unclear.

And so, at Egdenberg, on a night when Morrslieb waxed doomladen in the night sky, von Kampman and Schwarznacht struck their Pact, and the ex-Champions of Death stars were re-born as the Egdenberg Undertakers. Perhaps in time, the Vampire Count’s motives will manifest themselves, though surely as something dire and inimical to life…

Now, onto the Undertakers performace so far this season. At this point, the Undertakers, ably Captained by Wight Blitzer Kratorus the Black, have played three matches:

Match 1

Thirteen thousand fans travelled to see the Undertakers first match of the season, played against the fearsome Asgard's Wrath, a bearded and horn helmed team from the sprawling ice cube that is Norsca, and the howling and groaning masses outnumbered the Norscan team's home fans almost three to one, the total attendance for the match standing at nineteen thousand blood thirsty fans.

The match, ostensibly pitting two well established coaches in a head to head confrontation, turned out to be something of a non-engagement. Both teams did their fair share of pushing and shoving, with neither team able to make a serious impact on the match. The fearsome Undead front line did its thing and made the centre of the field a dangerous place to be, but the battle prowess of the Norscans kept them fighting hard throughout, and these two well matched teams did a damned good job of nullifying each other.

An early touchdown by the Undertakers' star Ghoul Runner Snaegir, put the Undead one nil up at half time, but the Wrath succeeded in punching through the Egdenberg defence early in the second half to level the score.

Despite some tense moments late on in the game, neither team was able to capitalise, and the match ended a 1-1 draw. The only point of note was the death of the Norse thrower, killed by the mighty Mummy Cheops The Great, though Skeleton Lineman Helmut Khol also suffered a smashed hip and would miss the next match while he underwent reconstructive surgery.

The following week, the Undertakers issued a press release announcing the signing of a new Ghoul Runner, Hashak, a native of the Desolation of Nagash on the shores of the Sour Sea. It is also reported in the media that Undertakers' Head Coach, Rakarth von Kampman, refused Helmut Khol's request for councilling following his brutal injury.

That's all for this report, but I, Bertwold Humpernickle, will be back with you straight after the Undertakers next match with another spotlight report, rumoured to be against the Ugly Gitz, a brutal Orc team whose match against the Elves of the Lions of the Three Rings saw the Elven team severely brutalised by the rampaging Orcs.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Paint: Sprue Cutters Union #9

Greetings wargamers and hobbyists, and welcome once more. Today, we are in my 'technicolour dream chamber'. This is where all my model paints come to hang out, chill, and take in the wondrous kaleidoscope of colours.

This week's Sprue Cutters Union topic is:

- What paint(s) do you use? -

As Jon said when he posted this topic, it's more of a practical discussion point than some recent topics covered, which were very interesting and gave us a peak into the minds of Union Members, but were also quite subjective and philosophical.

My answer to this topic will probably be quite different from that of most of my fellow union members, who in the main are scale model builders, but might share commonality with posts by the minature wargamers among them.

What paints do I use? Simple really: I use Citadel miniature paints, which I believe are a non-toxic acrylic. These are the paints produced by Games Workshop for use in painting the models that they produce, and I have always found tham to be a really great quality product. I also use their range of inks and washes, for shading and glazing on my wargaming miniatures. I have been collecting for many years, and as I am typically a sporadic painter, I tend to go through my paints quite slowly as well. This has resulted in my collection of paints incorporating multiple generations of colours and pot shapes, all by Games Workshop (pictured below, oldest to newest going left to right, plus ink, wash, and terrain/basing paint), the names and shapes some of which have passed into legend...

Now, there is an important consideration with miniature painting that comes before applying base coats, washes and highlights with a brush, and that is undercoating. I don't know whether undercoating is wholly necessary with scale model building, but if you want a clean and clear finish on your paint coats, and want the paint to stay on the model, then with gaming miniature painting you should always undercoat your models.

The undisputed king of undercoating must be the ubiquitous spray can, and for many years I have used Citadel's own Chaos Black and Skull White sprays, though with the cost of this excellent spray steadily increasing, I recently decided to try out Halfords Matt Black spray, which so far seems to work just fine, is cheaper per can, and the can is 25% bigger than either the Citadel or Army Painter (another brand which seems popular at the moment) cans.

As yet, I haven't decided to try out any other colours which might make a good base coat and save me a lot of time hand painting the predominant colour on any given set of models, but I think it must be on the cards after my success with the black.

So, thus far we have covered the colour pots of paint, the inks and washes, and the undercoat. So, given the size of the miniatures I typically paint, what on earth is that large pot of brown paint on the far right of my picture below? Well, when I recently got right back into painting properly, I realised that one aspect of finishing I had never addressed with a serious desire to get a good result was basing. I quickly realised that a well finished base really lifts a model, unit or terrain piece. I then went on to perfect (I use the term loosely) a method of basing that I am happy with and is quick to do:

Glue sand and rocks to the base. Citadel's Scorched Brown for base coat, Vomit Brown liberal heavy drybrush over the Scorched Brown, and then a light drybrush of Bleached Bone to highlight. Finish by sticking on a couple of clumps of static grass.

This method of basing resulted in two things. First, my finished models really did look finished, and second, I went through Scorched Brown paint like a Goblin Fanatic goes through magic mushrooms. Hence the £1 tester pot of Wilkinsons 'Java Bean' emulsion. It's almost an exact match for Citadel's Scorched Brown,  is about half the price for a pot, and as for the quantity in the pot itself...the currently available pot of Scorched Brown is the tiny one next to the tester pot...

So, that's my rundown of paint that I use for my wargaming miniatures. If you would like to read more posts on this topic by other Sprue Cutters Union Members,  check out this link, which will give access to other posts as they are added. It looks like my post is first this week!

And finally, if you fancy yourself as a Sprue Cutter, all you need is a blog, and a passion for miniature modelling. Take a look here for more info.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Your World In Scale: Sprue Cutters Union #8

Greetings wargamers and hobbyists, and welcome to the 'overlap'. Watch where you step in this hall, not all of it is quite real...

The most excellent Sprue Cutters Union continues to go from strength to strength, and week on week the topics assigned provide a challenge. This week's topic is no exception, and in my case dovetails neatly with the topic discussed last week, which was about our other half's feelings about our hobby.

This week, the topic is:

- How has living in the small scale world influenced your day-to-day view or understanding of the 1:1 world? -

- Or 'How obsessed am I with this hobby?' -

Oh my goodness. I am not going to come out of this well...

Following on from last week's post, I think that I generally only started to realise how deep I am into this hobby when my wife started saying things like 'but it's not real...' and I answer 'I know...but' and carry on regardless.

As I am sure you are aware by now, I am a wargamer. Wargamer first, modeller second. Responsible citizen somewhere on the next continent...

I play multiple games set in the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 settings, and as anyone who is familiar with these settings will be aware, they are vast, almost limitless in their possibilities. 

Warhammer Fantasy is set in a world of darkness, powerful magic, evil creatures and vast armies battling for the attention of the gods. Warhammer 40,000 is set in the far future, mankind on the brink of destruction, and beset on all sides by alien races and traitor hordes.

When you start to realise just how much material has been produced in the last twenty to thirty years, that's a huge volume of text giving depth and dynamism to the settings, and that's before you add in the untold thousands of fan fiction pieces set free in the aether. It is probably more detailed and vivid, almost more real, than many history books.

Do I think I can still clearly see the boundaries between the game fluff and the real world? Of course I can. I'm not that far gone. But do I sometimes apply the values of the armies and factions I play in the games to real world situations? In a superficial tongue in cheek kind of way, sometimes, yes.
Do I see stories on the news and think 'how different would that be if they had a couple of squads of Space Marines to throw in there?'. Yes, sometimes I do. When I see news stories about prison riots, I might comment on how lucky they are that the entire inmate population hasn't been executed already, as a precautionary measure.

I don't think the modelling aspect of the hobby affects my view of the world (though I am forever picking up bits and pieces of packaging and containers for use in terrain building, and I love visiting castles which can inspire building projects), but the setting and background material certainly has. Don't worry, I'm not about to try and unleash Exterminatus on an unsuspecting world, and my decision making functions haven't been corrupted by the promises of Slaanesh (yet), but my attitude towards some things has been coloured, I hope for the better.

My attitude towards people from other countries and cultures for example. I am always interested in speaking to and learning about people from other places, and harbour no animosity based on a persons ethnicity or cultural heritage. Why? Because the background of the Imperium of Man in the 41st millenium has instilled a sense that we are all human beings together, and we need to stick together in order to maximise the chances of the continued prosperity of our race. Ridiculous really that it should take a work of outstanding science fiction to teach us something so obvious.

Maybe the warring nations of the world should take heed. We really need to put our differences aside and work together, for the betterment of our species...

...before the Tyranids get here.

If you would like to read the posts of more sensible Union Members, check out the links below.

Finally, if you would like to join the Union, look here. All you need is a blog and a passion for the miniature modelling and collecting hobby. The Union Members are a varied bunch with a broad range of hobby experience, so we all have something interesting to bring to the table, regardless of our hobby background.

As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, 9 September 2013


Greetings wargamers and hobbyists. Today I want to bring you something a little different, but which will hopefully be of interest to you, especially the scale model builders among you with a preference for the Second World War...

...The Victory Show!

The Victory show is the UK's largest WWII reenactment event, with a plethora of beautiful military vehicles from the period, surrounded by dozens of soldiers in period uniforms from a variety of nations. There were some very interesting 'dioramas' laid out, including field hospitals, fuel dumps, Home Guard and kitchens, and I enjoyed the chance to get some shots of the participants just standing around and chilling, just as soldiers might have done when stood down during the war.

There were also several period aircraft doing their thing over on the air strip and in the air, including a Spitfire, a Hurricane, a Mustang, a Flying Fortress and a Messerschmitt. There were also some stunt flying bi-planes, and we got to see a flypast by the Red Arrows, and a Eurofighter Typhoon. The highlight of the day was a land battle where joint American and British forces stormed a dug in German force, including plenty og mobile armour and pyrotechnics. I feel compelled to advise you that the British made it to the German lines before their American battle brothers!

Anyway, I won't ramble on any more, just enjoy the pics...

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Your Significant Other: Sprue Cutters Union #7

Greetings wargamers, hobbyists and long suffering spouses and partners. I think love is in the air...

- How does your spouse (significant other) view your hobby? -

Well now, here is a topic that has the potential to really put the cat amongst the pigeons. Though it hasn't yet found its way into the Urban Dictionary, the term 'Warhammer Widow' is fairly well known across the community, and I am sure that anyone with a partner or spouse heavily into wargaming and miniature collecting understands precisely what it means. There is a Facebook Group dedicated to Warhammer Widows, and the term has appeared in mainstream media on more than one occasion. I wouldn't be too surprised to find that someone somewhere sells wax figures holding teeny tape measures and miniscule dice for Warhammer Widows to stick pins into. Too far? Probably...

I should start by saying that when you are involved in the hobby of collecting and playing with armies of toy soldiers, your other half likely falls into one of two camps. Either they too are a hobbyist and enjoy collecting, painting or gaming (perhaps all three), or they are not in any way interested in the hobby and would rather have their finger nails pulled out than allow themselves to be talked into trying it out.

I will stress right now that either of these points of view is fine. If miniature collecting and wargaming is something you can enjoy as a couple, great, if not, that's fine as well. No one ever said two people in a relationship both have to enjoy doing all the same things. In fact, sometimes it helps to have something all of your own, given how much of the rest of your life you share with a partner.
As far as my own relationship goes, my wife declined my request for a full interview, but instead gave me a few choice words which I will paraphrase below:

"I hate your hobby and Games Workshop, but I realise it's a big part of who you are so I tolerate it. That's all I'm prepared to say about it".
When during the following day I asked the question "Is it fair to say that you would rather have your finger nails pulled out than play a wargame?" The answer was "I don't even want to have this discussion"!

I have learned, friends, that if your partner or spouse just isn't interested, but tolerates your hobby to the point where you have your own space for your accumulated model collection, and are even able to attend a gaming club regularly with little complaint, be thankful for what you have. In fact, in the past my wife even bought me my Dark Eldar army, and isn't beyond dropping into the gaming store to grab me a pot of paint if I ask nicely.

I think her bark is worse than her bite really. I think the partners and spouses of most wargamers and modellers realise that they prefer their other half to play with toy soldiers than some other things, even if it involves controlled spending and time away from family, but if the balance is right, this is infinitely preferable to a partner that spends their time and family funds in the pub or the bookies.
Besides, we have a two and a half year old son, and in all likelihood I expect it's only a matter of time before he starts to take an interest in daddy's toy soldiers. Perhaps one day in the future...

The Sprue Cutters Union is a fantastic initiative being hosted by Jon of The Combat Workshop, and unites the modelling blogs of hobbyists across several countries to bring you a Blog Carnival of posts on common subjects. The Union's members come from a variety of modelling and collecting backgrounds, as varied as their blog posts, so it is well worth browsing through the links below for posts on this topic.

Also, if you fancy yourself as a member of the Sprue Cutters Union (#spruecutters), then look here. All you need is a blog, and a passion for the miniature modelling and collecting hobby.

Finally, I would like to dedicate this post to my long suffering wife (Rebecca @FordFordatron) who, despite stepping on bits of plastic models in bare feet, and having to find space on the coffee table among all the rule books and painting paraphernalia to put, well, coffee, has stuck by me and my hobby, and only rarely felt the need to utter the fateful words 'I think you should get rid of all this crap'. I love you mate.

Thanks for reading...