Saturday, 21 December 2013

Show Us Your Stash: Sprue Cutters Union #22

Greetings Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome to this week's Sprue Cutters Union post (#spruecutters). This week, I am getting into the Panto spirit and suffering from acute 'Old Mother Hubbard' syndrome, as we are asked to...

- I'll show you my stash if you show me yours... -

Now as every child may well know, when dear old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to fetch here tyrannical master of a canine something to gnaw on, the stash of snacks was decidedly lacking. When I considered this week's question, I realised that my modelling stash is much the same...

Though I may not have a modelling stash as such, this fact has highlighted to me a distinct difference between wargaming modellers and other modellers. Typically in my experience, the 'stash' is something that is peculiar to 'display model builders'.

As a wargamer, I have always been about the gaming first, and the modelling and painting second, and I have always imagined that the vast majority of gamers are the same. What this means in practice is that most wargamers don't tend to accumulate a treasure trove of unbuilt kits, rather kits are opened and assembled in a mad flurry of clippers, glue, filing, filling, guns and swords, and placed in a stash of units that are ready to see combat, but yet to experience any intimacy with a paint brush.

So then, when this question came about, I had to think about what I could say, and as I don't keep a stash, explaining why was the next best thing. I do however have one thing I could describe as stash, if stash is defined as an 'unbuilt model kit still on the sprue': the kit pictured at the end of this post! This was the gift I received as my Secret Santa present at work, and technically is a model kit. It's a kit that can be assembled as any one of six different constructions, and each uses the motor and solar module in the kit to power it, whether it's the car, boat, plane or dog. 

For me, this is about the closest I get to a stash.

If you would like to read posts about this topic by some scale modellers (and at least one other wargamer), then Ininvite you to have a look at the links below, which will take you to the blogs of other Union members.

And here is the Topic Hub, where members will be posting the url's to their posts.
And finally, if you fancy becoming a member of the union yourself, take a look here for more details. All you need is a blog, and a passion for some form of miniature modelling.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Where the Magic Happens: Sprue Cutters Union #21

Greetings fellow Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome to the workshop. Before you, laid out in all it's muddled and almost mythical (well, maybe more than mythical) glory is...the Eternal Workbench (what a farce)!

This week, the Sprue Cutters Union has been asked to pause and remember who we are and why we are here, in a 'Back to Basics'. In a miniature modelling sense, not a philosophical sense.

- Show us your workbench! -
Jon has asked us to talk briefly about the space we have set aside to build models, paint them and to enjoy our hobby. Well in my house there is a destructive cocktail of antagonists which could well result in the perfect storm and see my entire hobby swept to oblivion if it were laid out in the house: A toddler and two clumsy cats. Not to mention a wonderful spouse who might tolerate my hobby, but only as long as it remains in stealth mode. In the garage. Out of the view of mortals and muggles.
So, with the scene set, let me introduce you to my workspace...

Yep, thanks to the restrictions of not having a dedicated space in the house (or time while at home for that matter) for enjoying my hobby, all of my painting and modelling kit fits into an old fishing tackle box. This seemingly Tardis-like vessel contains all the paints I use most frequently, brushes, files, clippers, pinning wire and a pin vice with teeny tiny drill bits, modelling putty, and even the models I am working on at any given moment. Providing they fit in the top tray on the box. But being as I batch paint, this isn't often an issue, unless I'm painting something big. Almost the entirety of the rest of my hobby - from boxes of gaming miniatures to tools and a gaming table - are stored in the garage until such time as they are called upon to serve.

If the models I'm painting just won't fit, I have an old steel-effect make up case which I rescued from it's torture, filled with egg box foam, and drafted into military service carrying around the models I am painting or small gaming sets like my Blood Bowl Team or Necromunda Gang to games nights. I guess it would be nice to have a dedicated modelling and painting area in the house, but having a small child running riot makes such things impractical, not to mention the fact that the hobby isn't something I can yet share with our son, and my wife has an aversion to. Eventually, when (and if) my son begins to take an interest, I will then look at having a space in the house where we can both have 'hobby time'.

At the end of the day, I have an hour long lunch break every day at work, with nothing better to fill that hour with than a sandwich, some painting, and continuous gaming podcasts, so having a 'portable workspace' fits in very well with my available hobby time, and means I can spend up to an hour painting and modelling every weekday, whether that's in my car, or in the work canteen. This suits me just fine at the moment. Now if only my son would grow up a little faster. Or my wife would just eat the damn green pill and turn into an avid Wargamer. Though if that happened, she's probably be better at it than me...

If you enjoyed reading this post (or wonder if anyone else could have done it better!), I invite you to check out the links below, which will take you to the blog posts of other union members. There is also a link to the 'Topic Hub' on The Combat Workshop, which is where members post the links to their responses to this week's topic.

This Week's Topic Hub - any members posting their articles after mine will be found added to this page

And last (but certainly not least!), if you would like to join the ever expanding Sprue Cutters Union, then take a look here for details. All you need is a blog and a passion for miniature modelling, whether it is scale models, your own sculpts, or wargaming miniatures, all are welcome.

As always, thanks for reading...

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Wish List: Sprue Cutters Union #20

Greetings Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome to my 'secret planning room'. This is where I make all my secret hobby related purchasing plans, and is perfectly safe for discussion of such plans of hobby expenditure, because my Eternal Wife, doesn't read my blog. I think. I guess I'll find out pretty quick if it turns out she does...don't tell her, will you?

Now just a quick word about Union post #19, which was all about the amazing purchases hobbyists managed to make on 'Black Friday'. You may have noticed (or not - it is still perfectly likely that no one reads this blog except for you), that I didn't write a post for #19 (the first I have missed since this endeavour was born), and this is simply because I didn't make any hobby related purchased as part of the Black Friday sales, because (apart from online from the US) we don't have Black Friday in the UK.

I did consider talking about the purchases I have made over the preceding weeks, or what I wanted to buy, but the post was intended to be about Black Friday deals, not general purchases, and talking about what I wanted to obtain during the festive season would have left me rather stuck for something to say this week, wouldn't it?

So, this week's topic is...

- What are FOUR items on your wish list? -

Now this question relates specifically to what you would like to be able to add to your collection one way or another at the close of the coming festive season. I can only really answer this question properly if I answer it as a wargamer, rather than only as a modeller, to that's what I am going to do.

Well, four items...let me see now. Well, I would be surprised if hobbyists and gamers the world over haven't got a clear as crystal idea in mind of what they would love to receive as gifts from family and friends over the Christmas period, and I am no different. My plans also include my Birthday, which falls in early January, and typically these days a chunk of the gifts I receive are made of paper, have pictures of famous people printed on them, and can be traded for toys!

The plans I have in mind go like this: While listening to a podcast recently (HeelanHammer to be precise), I heard Wayne Kemp talking about the new Fireforge Sergeants models, which would be perfect for using as part of my Bretonnian Warhammer army as Men at Arms, the downtrodden and dishevelled peasant levies that march into battle alongside their noble masters. A number of other blogs have done reviews on these great (and relatively inexpensive compared to GW) models, so I won't blather on about them too much here until I come to starting work on them.

But there's a start. Number 1 on my Wish List is a box of the Fireforge Foot Sergeants.

Number two on my list compliments my number one choice, and is a box of the equally stunning Fireforge Mounted Sergeants, which will make perfect Mounted Yeomen for my Bretonnians, outriders and scouts that ride out ahead of the main knightly army, and harry the flanks of the enemy in battle. Not to mention being shoved 'under the bus' when necessary to disrupt an enemy advance.

Number three and number four on my Wish List are books, and this is where I slide my bar along a bit so it sits about half way between modelling and gaming. There are actually more books than this on my 'hit list' for the coming weeks, but I don't really count books that contain updated army rules because they are something of a given rather than an 'ooo! I'd really love to own that book! That would make my games really exciting!'

The first book I would like to see in my stocking is a new expansion for Warhammer 40,000, one of two out this month. The book is called Escalation, and deals with using 'Lord of War' models that are typically only seen in the huge and massively time consuming Apocalypse games, and putting them in your regular games of 40K. Being as I own a Shadowsword Super Heavy Battle Tank, I would like this book to allow me to blast Xenos and Traitor units off the table with the formidable 'Volcano Cannon'. The other expansion for 40K that is due out is for using vast and beweaponed fortifications, but seeing as I don't own any of the specific fortifications the book covers, that's a book for the future. On the modelling side though, being able to field my Shadowsword means I finally have to paint it, so watch this space...

And finally, a book that covers two things very close to my antiquated clockwork wargaming heart: Sigmar's Blood. Sigmar’s Blood is a campaign supplement for Warhammer based on the war between the forces of The Empire, led by Volkmar the Grim, and those of the Vampire Counts, led by Mannfred von Carstein. I am a life long (maybe life isn't the most appropriate word?) Vampire Counts players and lover of campaigns, so this book is right up my street. Here's to some interesting games for the new year. This will be great motivation to crack on with painting my Vampire Counts models, of which there are a great many.

There we are, my four 'Wish List' items for this festive season (and subsequent birthday), and if I find that by the middle of January I am busy assembling Fireforge miniatures and planning the destruction of the Empire, I will be a contented gamer...

If you would like to read more posts on this topic, then I invite you to check out the links below to the blogs of other Union members. The Union is made up of a varied bunch of hobbyists and modellers with their own individual take on our shared passion. If you would like to find out more about joining the Union (which now boasts twenty seven Members!) yourself, please look here. All you need is a blog, and a wish to share your thoughts on miniature modelling.

As more members post their articles, the links will appear in the Topic Hub on Jon B's Combat Workshop blog.

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

MAD Blood Bowl: Egdenberg Undertakers Special Report #4

Welcome Blood Bowl fans, to another special report. I am Bertwold Humpernickle, and this report continues my spotlight on the progress of Egdenberg Undertakers in this current MAD Blood Bowl League season.

After a bout of gut rot delayed the Undertakers planned match against the Lions of the Three Rings High Elf team a month ago, the game was finally re-scheduled and took place last week. Seventeen thousand Egdenberg home fans 'welcomed' nine thousand Lions fans to the Wychwood stadium on a fine evening - perfect weather for Blood Bowl!

Match 4

The Egdenberg fans were in fine 'spirits' as the away team kicked off. A brutal first segment saw the Undertakers struggling to pin the High Elves down, their customary agility really showing against the predominantly slow moving Undead players, though the Egdenberg 'Rapid Reaction Team' - their three Ghouls and two Wights, led by Captain Kratorus the Black - managed to wrestle the ball from the Lions to score in the later stages of the first half. This touchdown did cost the Undertakers however, as their star scoring Ghoul Vishur, was stretchered off.

Enraged after seeing their favourite player injured by the visiting High Elves, it is suspected that an Undertakers fan decided to dispense some rough justice, as a rather chunky rock knocked out Amron, the unconscious Elf also having to be carted off the pitch to recover. The remainder of the first half saw attempts by both teams to move the ball around the pitch scuppered by an unlikely number of trips and falls by the ball carriers. It has been suggested that the match ball - provided by the Lions sponsors I suspect - was in fact cursed, and foiled the Undertakers attempts to extend their lead.
The first half of the match ended without further incident, the score standing at 1-0 to the Undertakers.

The second half commenced with a rush from the Lions, their star Catcher managing to slip through the Undertakers defence and avoid being sacked by intercepting Ghouls to score early on, levelling the board at 1-1. This magnificent play had an unfortunate side effect however, sending Wailing Winifred - the head of the Undertakers unofficial fan club - into a rage, which in turn saw fans from both sides crash through the 'safety barriers' and onto the pitch to escape her piercing screams. The resulting Pitch Invasion saw one Egdenberg Zombie and four High Elves smashed into the bloodied turf before stadium security managed to clear the field with a 'knobbly truncheon' charge. Numbers of fans seriously injured in the riot are unconfirmed but rumoured to be in the dozens.

With play finally able to re-start, the Undertakers took advantage of the holes left in the Lions line by the Pitch Invasion to 'coffin march' the ball up-field, High Elves skirting the procession and darting in to try and break through to the ball carrier, Captain Kratorus the Black, and stalling the Undertakers at every step.

Despite numerous valiant but futile attempts to break open the Undertakers cage, it was the 'cursed ball' that put paid to the Undertakers drive for a second touchdown late in the second half, as Kratorus the Black attempted to break from the cage just one short dash from the Lions End Zone, and fell on his face. The Lions didn't waste the opportunity, and scooped up the ball from under the noses of the Undertakers players, caught flat footed in their processional march formation, and the ball was passed skilfully downfield to Lions players waiting for just such a chance.

The final seconds of the match were a blur of scrambling High Elves, grasping Ghouls and blitzing Wights, as Vermis Kraal eventually managed to bring down the Elven ball carrier just yards from the Undertakers End Zone, but then failed to retrieve the ball for a last mad dash for a winning touchdown. The final whistle blew on a match with copious quantities of ball movement, few casualties on either side, but tremendous amounts of highly suspicious and comical player slippage.

Final Score: Egdenberg Undertakers 1 - 1 Lions of the Three Rings

In a surprisingly gentle match (by MAD Blood Bowl standards), the game saw only one High Elf player Badly Hurt during the match, leading to speculation that the Undertakers Mummy Blockers had somehow been drugged, or that the Lions players had smeared their armour with some kind of slippery substance before the match to make them harder to grab hold of. The speculation is fuelled by the discovery of several empty barrels of squig-based lubricant in the Lions dressing room following the match. The Undertakers star scorer, Vishur the Ghoul, suffered a leg fracture and will miss their next game, rumoured to be against an up and coming Skaven team. This has left Vishur enraged, as the League Top Scorer title slips further out of reach. He will surely be gunning for glory as soon as he is fit to return to the pitch.

And there we have another exciting spotlight report on Egdenberg Undertakers and their progress. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with a report from their match against the Skaven. Until then, this is Bertwold Humpernickle, signing off.