Sunday 22 February 2015

Guild Ball Demo day report.

2014 saw many firsts for me, both in hobby and real life. One of the firsts was I delved into the world of kickstarter backing. I first saw the Guildball system through many tweets from the warmachine community as the kickstarter went live. A quick browse and it immediately grabbed my attention. If you've not had a look at what the game is about, I'd encourage you to check out their page right here: 

If you don't want to read, check this trailer to find out what it's all about.

So, we've got a medieval football(or soccer, if you're across the pond) game. Importantly, there's no tiled board involved. The aesthetics drew me in pretty quickly. The teams are a pretty original concept, which i find a refreshing change. The art work really is king here. The semi-serious semi-cartoon style really sets the tone for the whole game. Sure enough, this project got my backing last March. 

Fast forward 10 months and the Steamforged team(The company behind the game) are nearly ready for shipping after a hugely successful, and from what I can tell, organized project. The first demo days were announced this week, the first of which was in Element games in Manchester yesterday. Its only an hour's drive for me, so me and my mate Tom jumped in the car and set off to see how the games plays and meet some of the guys behind the scenes.

To start off, this was the first time I got the see the models up close. The finish on even the metal miniatures is very high quality. The resins are even more crisp. 

Meet Ox, Captain of the butcher's guild, and overall badass.
There was a good selection of the models out on display, though not all were present. It has made me a little sad I didn't upgrade to the resins, but heck, the metals will suit me just fine.  

This is Boar. He specializes in kicking the other team face down in the mud. 

As you can see, some of the models really pack a lot of movement into them. Which fits very well into a football team. 

The brewers, loud, proud and kings of the wrap around.

The brewers are team I've pledged for, so I was interested to chat about how they play. Our Demo guy Max was happy to explain all.  

The union. Don't question the union. 
 In the guild ball setting, as you can see in the video above, The union run the whole show. They have extra players that can take to the field for any guild, opening up those combos. They also look like an unwholesome lot.

So, once we'd had a look round and watched a couple of games, I had a chat with a certain Rich Loxam, one of the co-writers, about the game. Rich appears to be a top bloke who truly has passion for this game. Even just chatting to him about the game, he didn't dodge any questions, and was very open about the whole thing. Even on the subject of shipping dates. I think this passion the writers have is probably the reason for it running so well.

After we'd had a chat and spot of lunch, it was time to take to the field.
I took control of the butchers, in this instance, the red team(colour coded team helped me a lot!) So for the three man demo, I got, from left to right, Boiler, a winger, Ox, team captain and midfielder, and Brisket, the butchers' only striker.

The butchers, ready to mess you up.
Meanwhile, Tom took control of the fishermen's guild, or the blue team, for now. From left to right, Siren, Ginger winger, Shark, striker and Team captain and Angel, striker.

Fishermen, slippery, full of dodges. Don't let them through your net!
So the whole game took us about and hour, maybe a little more, but that was with me asking silly questions all the time and general chatter. I'm sure you could blitz though a game this size in about 40 minutes if you put your mind to it. It's important to note these demo games are half size, a normal game is 6 a side game. Also, the cards were simplified versions of the finished article. Just for learnin'.

So the game ended with me losing 2-1. Mainly due to my poor dice rolls! Some easy observations I made through out the game:

  • Very easy to learn. I guess I'm quite an experienced gamer, I've played loads of systems, so I was at an advantage there. Even so, by the end of the game, I was confident Tom and I could have replayed the game with very little help from Rich and the team. It's also simple, so there's no confusion. It does seam like a very tight system.
  • Fluid. The I-go-you-go system makes the game feel very slick, like a game of football should be. It really helps when players from both teams are always moving.
  • No grid. The idea of there not being the traditional 'Counting spaces' in football games really adds something. Also, the pitch is a lot bigger the the average football game, which allows for great passing and the ball can move around quite easily, without anyone getting the way. This helps it not feel to much like a big scrum in the middle.  
  • Parallels. There are several rules in guildball that appear to be plucked from other game systems. It's not that the ideas don't fit the game, but a couple of times it did feel a little too familiar.  
  • Innovation Having said that, there are a couple of bits that I found very new and novel. The momentum rules are a great addition. So as your team ramps up a run on goal, you gain momentum, which increase your chances of passing rolls, doing damage, etc. Also, The icy sponge rule. Players previously KO'd can come back on few turns later with various amounts of health, depending how long you've given them on the stretcher with the physio... 

So, now I've have a go, am I sold? The answer is yes I certainly am. I look forward to my teams arriving in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I've got a 3'x3' pitch to be building. The only concern I have for the game, is that is quite expensive. The starter boxes are around the £20 mark, but that only gets you the 3 man starter team. Each other guy is around £8-£9, which can be a stretch for some of the smaller models. I'd be intereting to see if they produce a 2 player starter set at some point. 

Overall it was a great day. I'd like to thank Rich and Max for showing us the ropes on the day, and the rest of the team for looking after us with snacks and letting me take some photos. If you want a go yourself, I'll certainly be running a few demos nights down at the Mammoths on Tuesday nights when my stuff has arrived, everyone is welcome to pop down and say hello!  


Monday 19 January 2015

More Snakebite Orks.

Well, I've been trying to find some time to work on the new army, and here's where I'm up to.

The mob of boyz I first started has been joined by the rest of the lads.

I'm quite happy with the variation I've managed to get into the mob. From the gnarly old nob leader, to the homage to the old school snakebites with the Mohawks. In the end, I decided city granite for the bases, simply because it adds a nice contrast to the boyz selection of browns and yellows.

The mob does have big old banner boy there. He has no use in the game, I just thought it's quite fitting for the snakebite clan. Speaking of which... since I've started this army, I've realized just how little is known about the snakebites. With the other clans having access to more toys, or faster trukks, or whatever, its easy to see why these old hacks get forgotten about.

The common misconception with the snakebites is that they are feral Orks. It's easy to see why people think that, but it's not the case. Where feral orks fall off the radar when a waaagh moves to the next planet, and regress back to a more primal state, the snakebites are just a very traditional orky clan. They get organized, are expert hunters and trappers, and second to non at raising livestock, be that squigs, grotz, or lord knows what. The clan gets it's name from the tradition of letting snakes bite the young orks so they come immune to the venom of the bite. They're a traditional lot, as I've mentioned.

So what does all this mean for my army? Well, it means I'm not just building a horde of boyz wielding club and bits of bone, which most people seem to think is going to happen. It means I'm going to have trukks and dreads and guns. I'm not saying there's going to be tellyportas everywhere and such, but I'll still have a few toys.

Which leads me on to my first scratch build. I've built a trukk up for the lads. I wanted a WW2 supply trukk style thing going on here. The 40's inspired bonet and engine, with the wheel arches fits the snakebite's old school view on life, I feel.    

The wheels and tracks come from a bits company based here in the northwest of england, zinge industries. Check them out here: Zinge They've got all the bitz a budding mek would want and more to boot!

I built up the cab rollcage using 3mm brass rod. The rivets also come from zinge. I'm not going to lie, the smaller sprues of these are an absolute nightmare to handle. They're probably half a mil across each...

So a couple of shots of the completed trukk. I love a vehicle with plenty of personality, and I feel this trukk brings plenty of that to the army already! The engine covers are from a dakkajet. I had the sprues left over from building the Sabre flier a very months back.

Well, that's all I've got so far, but check back, there will be more greenskins on the march soon. 


Wednesday 31 December 2014

Snakebite Orks.

Hey folks, it's new project time. So bearing in mind I've been playing a whole load of warmachine recently I've decided its time to get back into the swing of things with 40k. I say recently I mean the last 8 months. I've not even played the latest edition yet. So, time to get up to to date with the rules and build myself a new army to play with.

A few months ago, I won a decent job lot of GW Orks from everyone's favorite auction site. They were it pretty bad condition. but fortunately they had been built with superglue, so it makes for easy rebuilding! I paid about £30, and I got almost 70 boyz plus a whole load of other bits and pieces.

As I've got many grown up things to be doing with my money in the coming year, I'm going to be doing this one on a budget. 

So green skins has been sat there, but what kind of army to make? For me, the strength in 40k comes hands down, with the modelling and painting. I don't really care how many games I win, so long as we can have a good laugh doing it. The obvious place to start is to pick a clan. Everyone has favorite. 

The goffs, I've done a big old army of them in the past. I do have a bit of a 'already done them' opinion here. 

Evil sunz. This was my first plan. However, I realized I'd bought loads of boyz and no trukks. This, bearing in mind the budget, kicked that plan out. 

Bad moons. Again, I've done these guys before, so they're out. 

Deffskulls. A solid orky favorite of many I know. Weirdly though, I always find deffskull armies a tad uninspired. They're always numerous because most people have plenty of imperials guns left around in bits boxes. I don't want to blend into the crowd now. 

Snakebites. Now here's something. I thought about snake bites quite a lot. I fact I googled imaged searched them, and it didn't turn up a huge amount of results. However, this inspired me further. Quite often with this blog, I aim to post some articles I can't find anywhere else on the web. At this point a plan start forming. 

I got hold of a bunch of cheap fantasy orc bits, and started building. Now the first boyz are starting to roll of the production line.

This is look I'm going for. The aim was to get a muted, natural looking skin tone, but It definitely had to be green. Pretty rusty gear interm of the metallics, I can't see these boyz really looking after their stuff to well.

So the first 5 boyz are getting there. I know I wanted warpaint to feature quite a lot. There's also quite a few conversions planned for this army, There's fantasy orc bits all over the place, There are also going to be quite a lot of sculpted furs and ponchos. I'm going to try and improve my sculpting skills with this army. I want quite some dark tones, but not so it sucks all the fun and games out of the orks.

Some picture of in progress nobz. I plan of bring back the orky hair look! I think it was a big snakebite thing in the 90's I plan on my own versions showing up in this army. Some of these nobz were from the assault on black reach set. Hopefully I've disguised them ok.

Also, shields will feature quite heavily in this army, to get across the slightly backward nature of the snakebites. I'm going to do a unit with heavy armour with loads of extre metal plate and furs, with each boy carrying a shield.

Big shoulder plates and combi skorchas show this grizzled veteran shows business. I have plenty planned for this army, and I don't plan on rushing it. More to follow, so keep an eye out.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Imperial Sabre Jetfighter, Part 3

Here we are at the third and final part. Our fighter is ready for action. As you can see, I attached the tail elevators after de-orking them.  

I've actually surprised myself with the airbrushing, I feel I'm really getting the hang of it now with various techniques I've now tried out. 

Masking things off is a pain, especially the chequered band around the tail fin. Last time I tried is one some aurora chapter predators, I ended up leaving the tape on to long and pulled the paint off with it which caused all sorts of hassle. This time I was more careful though! 

My new favourite airbrush trick, is to spray the citadel washes through it to get a very light grubby effect. I think it suits this model especially well, and probably any flier. I can't imagine they get battle damaged and wether the same way of ground forced, tanks and such. 

I used both nuln oil, around the metal areas, such as the vents down the fuselage, and seraphim sepia just on the general grey panels.

What's a military aircraft without some nose art? Originally I was going to go with the classic eyes and mouth, but I thought I'd be a little more subtle, and a little more original than that. Also, flaming dice on a wargaming model? Doesn't feel like I can go wrong really! 

Just so you can see underneath. I thought about doing it a different colour, perhaps a lighter grey, but once I'd painted it this far, I didn't want to over do it! 

So the model is complete. How do I think I did? I'm actually pretty happy with it. I think it looks pretty imperial. Perhaps if I did another, I'd probably use some more stereotyped imperial guns, auto cannons, heavy bolters, lascannons, to really get the point over. I'm not sure if I might look a bit to 'Just stuck imperial guns on an orky plane' then though. I think the reason the painting works, is the shading between panels makes them stand out a lot, like a proper imperial plane. It almost take the eye of the fact it was an orky plane. 

I'd now be interested to paint up both an unconverted Dakkajet, and an imperial Valkyrie to put my skills to the test!


Saturday 2 August 2014

Imperial Sabre Jetfighter, Part two.

Well, i've contuned to build the Imperial jet fighter, the conversion from the orky dakka jet. Since last time, I've made pretty good progress. I think I'm pretty much there on the building side of things. Just a couple of decisions need making before I get the airbrush out.

I've got the missiles set in place now. After that it was really a case of tidying up, tying up lose ends before painting really.

I've added some imperial aquilas to set the tone a little more. The clear canopies aren't glued down here, just to clear that up. I'm not sure on weather to add the tail fins at all. They could go either at the top, or the bottom of the tail, but when they're on they add quite a lot to the bulk of the jet and revert it to it's orky state a little to much for my tastes. 

As you can see in this shot, the plane does have a more sleek look about it without them.

Another view straight down the length of the plane. Showing drilled out stubber barrels and clear canopies removed. 

 Underside of the plane, with orky gaps filled and covered. I'm not sure weather to add additional fuel tanks under the wings too. I don't know if it might end up looking to much like a bomber, and perhaps over burdened with 6 missiles under the wings too.

Overall, I'm really enjoying this project. Its something totally different, that If i'm honest, is probably going to lead to me making more fliers in the future!

Thursday 31 July 2014

Imperial Sabre Jetfighter.

Well, my summer of painting toys for money continues. Next up, grab your flying goggles, aim your cross hairs and prepare to count rivets...

So we all know Orks are big fans of looting everyone else's gear, but have you ever realised that can happen two ways? I have been charged with turning an ork dakkajet into an imperial equivalent. I've been sent many pictures of USAF sabre jet fighters(big in the 50's, so I've learned) to act as the inspiration for the conversion.

This conversion needs thinking about. I've never done anything like it before. the closest is probably either looting imperial gear for ork armies, or turning Imperial gear heretic for chaos armies. Changing human stuff into ork looted versions probably isn't going to help here. They just get busy with the sheet metal and the rivet gun.

Changing imperial stuff into chaos may help a little. When that happens, the gods/warpsmiths/modeller strips all the iconography, then warps the machine to better suit his needs or tastes. However, a chaos land raider can still look like a land raider underneath. This has got to be different.

This plane can't look like its come from ork hands into imperial ones(heresy!), but it got to look like its been bolted and welded together in an imperial maufactorum. Lets not forget our american inspiration either.

So the issue is, there's a few things I can't change about the model. I can't really change the fuselage shape. The wings will have to swept back really. Not very imperial, but perhaps American enough. The canopies will have to stay the same, the plastic is to brittle to work with.

Looking at forgeworld imperial fliers, once I've realised the shape of the dakka jet can't change, the main difference is suface details. As we know, the Orks have riveted this sucker together. The imperials weld, and rivet if they have to. Queue the scalpel and sand paper... 

So every piece pretty much needs rivets cutting off, then smoothing off with one of the missus' emery boards, and then finishing off with some misplaced finishing sanding pads from work. This is have modelling, half joinery...

Next up, I got the pilot in place. I did this now, I think, the same reason I always paint a model's face first. It helps get the character across early and helps me visualize the rest of the job from an early point. This guy is a door gunner from a Valkyrie gunship. Cutting gluing, He's got plenty of room where that smelly ork used to sit. 

So more sanding next, she's starting to take shape, you can see. The big thing here, I removed the orky manoeuvring jets that were on the back of those sub wing bits. The angle was all wrong of the imperial warmachine!  

Luckily, some flaps and panels can just be reversed without the need for sanding to show their true imperial colours! 

Next up, the anti air gunner getting a pair of much more reliable heavy stubbers. More cutting a gluing a door gunner to squeeze him in that grot's spot!

 Right, now we're talking the business end of things. Drilled out 6 hellstrikes/sidewiders(lets not forget the american influence) exhausts and cut some pylons from styrene sheet.

Mounted under the now smooth fuselage. kind of getting there now. 

So this is where she stands now. Drying on my glue. Hopefully I'll get it in the sky next week!



Saturday 12 July 2014

The Tharn Factory, Part 1.

Sometimes the need arises for me to sell my brush to the highest bidder. This summer is one of those times.  In fact it's the biggest one yet, I currently have 3 painting jobs on. The first of these jobs is a repeat client(yeah, check me out, with clients now.), which is good, because it means I must be doing something right.

Back at the start of the year, I painted a bunch of Circle Orboros Tharn Ravagers, full unit, UA and solo.  The same guy is back for more, I now have 2 full units of tharn Blood pack to paint in exactly the same style.

So these are some quick snaps of the first unit. I forgot how long painting from a white primer takes for my painting style. I do like I overall effect, but I think I'd struggle to paint an entire army in these colours. 

Once again, the bases are being finished by the client, so I'm just leaving 'em primed. 

This is the unit leader. As much as privateer make brilliant games, I hate to say it, but the quality of their plastics is wanting. Mold lines are almost impossible to remove it some places. Sounds strange, but think there is to much detail that has been crammed in, when they don't appear to have the molding process quite right. I do feel the modeller pays the price for that.

I really need to improve my photography set up, but to be hoenst, I just don't know enough about taking pictures, or have the cash to invest in a better set up. I get the impression I'd have to have alot more space available than I actually have as well

Anyway, enough ranting, I'll be back with more paying jobs soon!