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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Realms of Chaos- Slaves to Darkness

In the hallowed  history of Warhammer and Citadel Miniatures there are two tomes stand out head and shoulders above the rest. It is a two part series of books with the first being Realms of Chaos- Slaves to Darkness and Realms of Chaos - The Lost and The Damned. The focus of this post will be the first one and the later be covered in an upcoming blog post.

Suffice of to say with these two Games Workshop pulled off a major triumph. From the graphic design to the art to the rules the entire book is nothing short of astounding. The overall cohesive feel of the products is carried between the two as well as the artwork. The color photos within were a source of endless inspiration to me back in the late 80s/early 90s and something I still reference today. Tied into this the 3rd edition rule book (naturally) and the rules for Siege (covered here) form everything that is needed for all aspects of fantasy tabletop gaming, oh yeah along with Warhammer Armies.

Slaves of Darkness covers two of the Chaos Powers of the Warhammer World: Khorne the Blood God, God of Battle, Murder and Death ("Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!") and Slaanesh the God of Lust, Pleasure and Perversion. But more than that, it covers not only the rules for 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle, but that of Warhammer 40k as well! And it that weren't enough the rule system also allowed it to also work seamlessly with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

Before I go any further I think its also important to note that any material that included d1000 tables and can pull it off successfully is bound to be good. And to pull off multiple tables so well? Masterstroke!

Slaves to Darkness starts with the idea of a warband and most importantly the role of a chaos warrior on his road to his ultimate goal: that of becoming a dameon prince in the service of his patron power. Random roles determines the characters starting race and characteristics and there can be quite a bit of drift in power here. From there gifts and mutations are determined and not all are entirely beneficial for such is the fickle nature of chaos.

As I alluded to before the most interesting part is the tons of mutations that allow for a nearly infinite  amount of variety. So much so that if the tables are adhered to strictly there is little likelihood that any two mutants will be the same.

One of the things that captured my imagination back in the day in regards to this was the color pages of really cool miniatures. I can remember pouring over them particularly the sample warbands over and over again. The other thing that is great about the book aside from the graphic design (which is top notch) are the color shots of the chaos hordes spilling out of the chaos

In the next post I'll be covering the companion volume: Realms of Chaos- The Lost and the Damned.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Part IX of the Repainting my 3rd Edition Wood Elf Force- The War Wain!

Since last time I blogged about it I have explained my Wood Elf force considerably. This time however with a miniature that has a long history before it finally arrived on my doorstep. To what am I referring to? The addition of a Wood Elf Wain Lord aka the Elven Attack Chariot.

The Elven Attack Chariot was part of the "Machineries of Destruction" line from Citadel Miniatures. These featured minis from the 1980s were mainly siege engines and the like. They also included foot regiments like Prince Uthar's Imperial Dwarfs, which came in rectangular box, cool artwork and a short story of the machinery or regiment on the back.

An exert from the text:
Prince Iolair Gilandiril drove through the forest on a crisp winter's morning. The frost glistened jewel-like on the branches and on the leaves of the evergreens, and the pale sun filtered through the morning mist to wash the scene with delicate pastel shades.

About 10 years ago I actually won this off of eBay. However, as I sadly pointed out here, it never made it to my doorstep. I still hope that someday it might arrive, but realize it is long since gone in the post and having moved since then makes it doubly unlikely. As best a I can figure it was delivered to the next street over from where I lived; same number for the house, but different street name...

So it was that around this time last year I got this miniature for considerably more than the one I lost out on (I paid $25 plus shipping for the other one!) It wasn't until September 2018 that I got around to painting it after a busy summer.

Of special none is the figure Aesllanan Woodmage figure (to the right) sculpted by Jess Goodwin. I've pretty much always liked this mini, so much so that I bought a second one to paint in the same color-scheme as the one on the chariot. Some would modify the mini so you could take the mage off of the chariot and use on foot on a 20mm base... Not me. I liked it so much I wanted to paint it twice! This mini is also unusual for me as its a fairly light tone for the clothing. I always undercoat in thin watery black paint so when I go lighter it presents its own challenges. In all it came out fairly well in my estimation.

As you can see the chariot miniature overall continues with the autumnal foliage I've used on the rest of the  Wood Elf force. I stayed away from painting the white like in the art on the box; to me that has more of a High Elf feel to it. So more browns and tans it was for the paint and with more gold used than normal to denote a high ranking wood elf noble riding in the chariot.

Here are the goods, my Elven Attack chariot at long last!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Kiss - "Who sails the ship through stormy sea?

My favorite band is Led Zeppelin as I outline here, but another band I'm a fan of that the critics hate? KISS! And one of their most, if not their most misunderstood album to date: (Music from) the Elder. Its worth noting before going further, that at the time that the album was released it seemed to be the soundtrack for a non-existent movie.

Before you cringe, KISS was in my oldest brother's age-range/wheel house when they first hit more so then they were in mine in the later 70s and early 80s. The same brother actually had a few of the albums in the 1970s: Alive! Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over and I believe Love Gun. I played them on my record player in the late 70s early 80s, but they were never mine. In fact I never actually owned an album back then, it was cassettes then to CDs. Sadly those original albums as long gone. I can remember drawing for long hours my version of the cover of Destroyer because I thought it was so cool.

The same brother and I did get to see the original band members in 1999 during their Reunion Tour which was very cool and I got the 5-disc box set a few years later. Crazy to think even that was almost 20 years ago! So whats my point? Rather then dissect their musical chops (or lack thereof depending on which side you fall) I'm going to talk about (Music from) The Elder... I know right? Like many people I've avoided this album for years, so have the critics, the fans, and even the band itself, but is it that bad? A year or so I got it and listened to it. Here is where it gets crazy, its better than one might think. But as Ace said in hindsight: "the wrong album at the wrong time." And when Ace is the voice of reason???? Crazy!

Reportedly that is Paul Stanley's hand..
So, a  concept album from KISS? A Prog Rock album from KISS? Let me say there is actually some good music on The Elder which is surprising to me. Like their  previous album Unmasked there is some good songs (I'm thinking "Talk to Me”,Tomorrow”, "Two Sides of the Coin" and "Torpedo Girl"; ironically all the songs that begin with T and two are written by Ace Frehley!)

And how does this fit to the theme of this blog? Think about it the imagery that this conjures up? A boy sailing through a stormy sea to become a hero? Trite, simple and cliched, but "Just a Boy" is a great song, certainly a curve ball, but a good one. Its really no different than the imagery of say Jethro Tull's "Broadsword" which I like as well.

The singles were "I", "A World without Heroes" and "The Oath" which are fine for a soundtrack, but not really geared towards commercial radio airplay (see below on "A World without Heroes.") In fact "Darklight" should have been the lead single. It was written by Ace and doesn't really fit with the album, but is probably the most geared towards radio airplay. It also really doesn't fit with the rest of the album in my opinion either.

"Under the Rose" has a unique sound with echoes of a chant and "Only You" is surprisingly catchy. That leaves "Odyssey" and "Mr Blackwell" as the weakest on the album, but I'd also include "Heroes" here as well. Its a sort of wishy-washy to me personally, but your mileage may vary.

To close: While Prog Rock AND KISS might not be everyone's cup of tea (and ironically Im drinking tea as I finish this), the fact they do go together well in this effort. After listening to Pink Floyd who I like its a nice diversion to listen to this among other Prog Rock.

As a last note: the album was not liked all that much by the band themselves and did not tour to support it. Years later with Thommy Thayer and Eric Singer in the band in Ace and Peter's makeup (I refuse to call them the Space Ace or the Catman) they would play some of these songs on the various KISS Cruises or later tours. But for years it was an afterthought.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Yo Ho, Yo Ho the Pirates Life for me

In early December of last year we returned from Disney for vacation. We have been going there quite regularly since 2011. But what does that have to do with the focus of this blog I hear you say. well as you know I'm a fairly keen terrain builder. So when I was at Disney with the family this last time I spent a bit more time looking around and taking in the architecture. As one would imagine I'm a big fan of the prototype model of EPCOT (Walt's original idea). I also look over Frontierland a lot too as I like westerns as I've outlined on the blog here various times.

But to the point of this post: while riding Pirates of the Caribbean several times I paid more attention to something I have only given a scant thought previous: the skull rock at the very beginning of the ride. The skull is pretty cool and is fully detailed here. I wont go into too much detail as that site does a very good going into detail but I'll cover the basics.

The rock when viewed face on looks like a skull which is pretty cool. As the site listed above notes when you're on the ride, you glance at it and then your attention is drawn to the beach scene just beyond. But the thing is the skull is not a solid piece, its a 3D sculpture.

So when we went through I really took notice of it and when we got back I searched out the site above and from my own recollection. I decided to recreate the skull as as a terrain piece for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. 

I don't normally show Work In Progress (WIP) pieces, but this has come out very cool thus far. Like the sculpture it is based on, from the side the skull disappears and becomes just a pile of rocks.But when viewed head on it appears as a skull.

As you can see as it turns the skull "disappears". Basically the structure is  five rows of foam carved with the x-acto knife to create the effect of the skull.

The materials and tools list is as follows and is not that extensive:
  • White glue
  • R4 residential foam-siding
  • X-acto knife.
  • Sand paper
  • Masking tape and cardboard for the base. Although one section is press-board before I realized I had to make the base larger.
  • Some white plaster Spackle to fill in gaps in the foam pieces and sanded.
  • Black, dark gray, light gray and white acrylic paint (don't use spray paint as it melts foam).
The plan for this piece is to create a small section of water to go around it so the skull will represent a small lake on the Warhammer board. In a way this is similar in the moat I'm working on for my Nippon castle (albeit on an on-again off-again fashion)...

Special thanks to Parkeology for the photos and the break down of the construction. While its not exactly as I remember it and I had to modify to create what I remembered its about the only photo I could find.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Dragonerune Minatures- Marauding Ogres

For some reason I seem to have an affinity for ogres in Warhammer. I'm not sure why this is mind you as I haven't set out to collect a lot of them, it kind of just happened. A few months back I was able to procure these ogres off of eBay for about $20 less than the going price after having my eye them since around 2001. What are they? Dragonrune Miniatures Ogre Marauders.

Dragonrune Miniatures was in operations from 2001 to 2003 and closed down in 2003 (source). The minis in question were sculpted by Felix Paniagua and obviously look very much in the vein/style of the Warhammer miniatures at the time; his orcs also are very much same style-wise. While Dragonerune went "belly up" they were acquired by Armorcast and you can still get the miniatures. This makes sense as Felix also worked for GW.

As you can see I have all seven of the minis from the ogre line. I have mixed feelings about these guys, not the minis mind you. They are packed with details and a proliferation of skulls, heads, chests, pouches etc. In fact in a way they echo the Citadel miniatures of the mid to late 80s which I cut my teeth on as it were (In fact the left hand most ogre has orange and white haircut akin to the the ogre on the cover of the 1st Edition Warhammer Fantasy Role-play book). And yes I know the troll slayer on the cover had the orange hair...

Sorry about the digress, I was saying mixed feelings? This was one of those units and/or minis that gave me a lot of grief when painting. What do I mean by that? Glad you asked. By grief I mean they just did not come together in terms of of the colors as I expected. The skin tones were better than I expected, but overall as noted the whole experience left me somewhat perplexed. I'm not sure about you, but this happens to me every once and a while when painting a unit or miniature, it either is a case where it doesn't come out quite like I intended or wasn't as enjoyable to paint.

I did get to work on my black lining of technique to give them a more oldhammer feel and the washes went well. I also gave the weapons a rusty bloodstained look which on the ogre with the orange/white hair and the ogre with the hammer looks good.

Regardless of the outcome I now have yet another unit of ogres for Warhammer and here is what is in my collection at the moment:
  • A unit of three ogres for my 6th/7th Edition Chaos Dwarf army.
  • A unit of three ogres for my 6th/7th Edition Chaos (Undivided) army.
  • A unit of eight ogres for my 3rd Edition Armies which are detailed here.
While all of these guys are assigned to an army and in some cases painted to match the armies or their bases/movement trays they could also be used for Warhammer Fantasy role-play or for other Warhammer armies in Warhammer Fantasy Battle proper.  In the case of the Dragonrune ones I just finished above they are painted with the more neutral brown scheme I use for mercenary forces in my collection. Another use could very easily be in my ever so slowly evolving Dogs of War army.

In the end, I recommend these guys, they are excellent miniatures with a very good amount of fine detail to them. In fact if you didn't know you might be forgiven for assuming they were unreleased GW miniatures.

As a final note I think these are the last ogres I will be procuring for quite some time, although there are still some giant ogres from the Marauder line which I quite like along with some more of the classic lines from Citadel. Perhaps I need to switch to the classic giants! So many choices, limited $, but we'll see. Maybe The Warhammer Giant, but only 1,000 were produced...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Dark Future, Mad Max Meets Games Workshop

Lets get this out right away, Dark Future was inspired by the Mad Max movies (Mad, Max, Road Warrior and Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome). Note: this is hardly a controversial statement and  not one that I ever heard anyone denying mind you, but bears repeating. Back in the day my only interactions regarding Dark Future was seeing the advertisements in Dragon Magazine or the occasional White Dwarf (I didn't start reading WD till around #137). And by the time I could somewhat afford it, it was gone from the lineup and forgotten. One thought also before I go further, why is it that GW once again placed their ultra-violent settings for a game in the USA? I think they were trying to tell us something with Dark Future and Bloodbowl...

This game came back to me a few months back when I purchased a copy of Car Wars made by Steve Jackson Games at the local game store. I got the copy for only $20 so not too bad I thought, but reading through it, holy crap is that game complex. Far too rule heavy for my tastes and very math intense. Now I'm not adverse to crunch heavy games or math heavy, but Car Wars struck me in the same vein as Twilight 2000 in terms of complexity for the vehicle rules. Perhaps a feature of early 90s game design concepts as it relates to cars and the like?

But it was then that I remembered that Car Wars wasn't the game I was shooting for, it was Dark Future! Ahhh well so off to eBay to see what sets are going for? Yeah... looks like I'm going to need to save my gold Guilders for a while, or perhaps go for the "successor game" Gorka Morka? (I'll cover that in a future post). In any event this is one of those ones that's on my radar now, but who knows when I'll get to it. There is something that keeps drawing me to it and I'm not quite sure why, I don't believe its nostalgia either. I suppose its possible to"procure" the rules and use Match-Box or Hot Wheel Cars to simulate it.

Oh and look at that: isn't the internet great? There is a wiki for everything, including Dark Future at Route 666, the Dark Future Wiki. As you can see for a game that had a fairly limited shelf life, it did receive a fair amount of support from what I can gather. Games Workshop did have support for expansions for the game such as the PBS4 Battlecars, but like many of the secondary (late they would get called specialist) games Dark Future fell by the wayside to a large degree by the early 1990s. This coincided with the revamp to 4th Edition Warhammer.

Bell of Lost Souls has more information here on a rumored re-release of Dark Future, but as of late 2018 I still don't see anything on it. EDIT: it appears that the focus was more on a video game release.

I assume if you've read this far you know about Dark Future and probably a lot more that me as I noted I've never played it. Please lend me your thoughts on the matter after some selected photos that graced White Dwarf from the time frame in question, culled from Pintrest and the Lost and Damned site:

Monday, December 17, 2018

Part VIII of the Repainting my 3rd Edition Wood Elf Force

I've actually been busy in real life as well as with Warhammer stuff. Over the last few months I've done lots of work on my Dark Elf force along with my wood Elves I've been chronicling here on the blog. Interestingly I've been working on the Wood Elves in the autumn and the Dark Elves in the echoing their basing choices.

Quick aside: the progress on the Dark elves can be found here. I'll have some new photos up soon of their progress.

As we all know, Wood Elf forces in 3rd Edition Warhammer are heavy with bow armed troops. This also carried over to later editions. In 3rd the compulsory choices are archers of which the minimum to field is 30. Aside from my Skarloc Wood Elf Archers all the bow armed units in the army are the result of the PBS3 -Plastic Warhammer Regiment Boxed Set. I know I've said it before, but while not the best miniatures that GW ever produced they are some of the best value around, even now as everyone and their brother has some spare ones to sell on E-Bay or trade. Additionally, to me at least these "looks like Warhammer to me" in much the same way 3rd Edition Talisman "As I know it."

So with all this here are the units I've completed, not one but two units, 20 strong of Wood Elf archers. As you can see green predominates but I continued with the black and white accenting to tie them into the other units of the army, along with the autumnal basing or red, orange and yellow. This now brings the fire power up to 82; three units with 20 and the Skarloc Archers having 22 in the regimental box set.

The 2nd unit (2nd as in I pictures the first unit here and Skarloc's counts as unit #1 for my army) followed by the 3rd.

To close out, I'll also need to get pictures up of my Elven Attack chariot that I painted up for the Wood Elf force, it came out well and I realized I finished it several months back. I now have a sizable force of Wood Elves repainted and have come a long way when they were simply an Ally force for my mega-battle with Dave and Jeff.