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Friday, February 21, 2014

For Your Approval: The Skulltaker!

Hey there my fellow 40K lunatics. Old Man Chaos is back with another edition of Chaos Corner. First I want to talk about some upcoming 40K stuff, then- like the title says- I've got some pics of my Skulltaker, Daemon of Khorne. Let's get with it then...

First off, I am liking the look of the Imperial Knight. I haven't gotten the WD yet, but the pics have been online for over a week now, so... I like the look of the model, and since Gw is absolutely moving in the bigger and bigger Lord of War direction, this guy fits right into that. Rumors are that they can be fielded as allies to any army (Chaos Knight? Done. Ork Looted- sure. Necron--- uh- Corrupt Mechanicum?). For Space Marine players in particular, this may be a good thing. Their only option for Escalation is the incredibly expensive Thunderhawk. Thus, they can now have a Knight instead. As for me, I am not sure IF I will get one just now... I have for Chaos the Lord of Skulls, a Plague Titan, a Plaguereaper, etc. As for my Ultramarines- well, I have been working on them recently, but I don't know if I want a big guy for a force that I will only use once in a while.

There's lots of other new stuff swirling in the Warp. The Legion of the Damned codex looks tasty (I am interested in them, but know little actually about them). There's also some pics of a Chaos Helbrute that is clearly NOT the one in the Dark Vengeance Starter Box. It looks downright imposing- but I already have 3 (!) Plague Dreadnoughts, and I have 1 for the Bezerkers. But... it looks so cool! However, this could mean that the other Chaos rumors are true, including Chosen, new Chaos Space Marines (with more god-specific gear), and hopefully even mini-codexes for the legions / god-specific armies. That would be a spicy meatball, and I am looking forward to all of that.

So, now let's look at my Skulltaker. I believe I got him in that Daemon army box that I bought when the Daemon Codex first came out. I really like the current Bloodletters (although the 3rd edition ones were also badass), and Skulltaker looks like a stronger, more brutal version of them.

The first thing that everyone notices (and loves) about the model is the cape of skulls. I decided to augment that by putting him on a skull base (where did I get those bases from again?). By doing so, it looks like the skulls are just spilling from his cape all over the ground- due to the warp the skulls just keep coming, and flowing wherever he goes. Imagine a daemonic Pigpen of skulls, and you get the idea. Opponents are always drawn to him as a result (good or bad- more on that in a moment). He is a walking pile of skulls, and that gets him noticed.

The red skin I did in keeping with my Bloodletters- after all, he is the same as them, just better. I used black ink for the recesses and to accentuate the musculature. He certainly looks devilish as a result. I also did the eyes and horns in a similar way to my Bloodletters- black horns with grey highlights for the ridges. His eyes  were yellow, again like the Bloodletters.

I am also particularly fond of the skull he is holding, complete with part of the backbone / spinal cord. The fact that it has burst into flame is a great idea, and I enjoyed painting it on fire (I kept thinking of Ghost Rider, though I decided to do the flame in traditional fire colors rather than warp flame).

 In game, the guy is a beast, though with one or two glaring flaws. First, he has to foot slog to get up to the opponent, during which time he tends to get shot all to hell. Or, if you deepstrike him in, he has to wait a turn, during which he... yes, gets shot to hell. In the last game I played, He teleported in with a squad of Bloodletters. They managed to survive a hail of bullets and then got in and wiped out a unit of marines. However, my opponent wisely moved everything away from him. Thus, he had to walk- and that's when my opponents Stormtalon came in and- yes, you know- shot him to hell. I am not whining about it or saying that he should have a 2+++++ save or anything like that- I'm just telling you my experiences with him. No whining, just the facts.

While he is a bullet magnet, you can use him to draw fire, thus saving your other units and giving them a chance to get into position. Daemons are tricky to use- and no, I do not even HAVE Fateweaver, and don't use Screamerstar, if you're wondering. But, I do like the Daemons overall- and the Warp Storm table has never hurt me too badly, and has helped (my brother's Grey Knight champion became a Daemon- Hahahaha!).

As soon as the spring comes and I get more time, I will be playing more. I have some combinations to try- using the Chaos Marine and Chaos Daemon books a bit more closely to see what I can do. I also want to play a game of Escalation and use my Lord of Skulls. I think in a couple more weeks, and I'll be back at it.

Well, that's all for now. I'll be back next week- hopefully we'll know a lot more about the Knight and other goodies on the way. Until next time...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pics of my Ultramarine Stalker and Where 40K is at now

Hey there friends! Welcome back to another edition of Chaos Corner. Old Man Chaos has more pics for you, this time of a newly minted Ultramarine Stalker tank. Yes, every so often I have to take a break on the bad guys to work on my good guys. I do have plenty of Chaos stuff in the works though, but once in a while I need to work on the sons of Guilliman.

Childish, but chuckle-worthy
Before that, I just want to rant about the state of GW and 40K. I am still mad about Visions being such a rip off. I emailed the editors at WD, expressing to them my (admittedly) strong feelings on the subject. They have not emailed me any reply (nor did I expect them to). I just hope that others who were frustrated by the Visions mess has emailed them/cancelled subscriptions as well. As for the 2nd issue of WD weekly- it was all Dwarfs. I approve of this, even though I don't play them. I know now for sure that there will be some weeks I simply won't buy. That will save me money in the long run, and gives me choice. I am happy with this- but I still feel GW pulled the wool over people's eyes with Visions.

As for the game, the recent Vegas tournament has caused a stir- rather needlessly I say. Look, I don't usually play tournaments (except at I-Con). I play against friends, and I play at my local store. I have fun, win or lose. Most of the people I play with are pretty much the same. Yes, the competition gets a bit heated with some opponents, but at the end everyone has a good time and shakes hands. Yes, I have met WAACs, but they are not the majority. Not even close. As for the tournaments, its just not my scene. If it is yours, that's cool, more power to you. But there are people getting all bent out of shape about it- because Eldar won? So now the game is broken and all over. Seriously? Come now- just turn it down a notch. Tyranids didn't do great? That is a concern, though the book has only been out a month- again, too soon to say that the game is broken.

I haven't played a game since December (work, snow, stuff), though I intend to rectify that soon and start playing weekly again (spring sounds good). My local even wants to do a campaign in the spring (I'm down with that). Notice- he said "campaign" not "tournament".  A big part of the fun of 40K is the story, the characters and factions, not just winning at dice rolling. That's why I'll never get WAACs. 40K is a fun game, but not necessarily a "make or break" competition. That's making it something that it really isn't. I wish some players could just take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the game for its story, modelling, and camaraderie. Ugh.

Anyways, here's some pics about my Stalker. I was in a hobby store I used to go to frequently (back in college, which is now much further from my more local store). The owner is a great guy, if a little eccentric. That's part of his charm. Anyways, I was out there with my wife near Christmas and decided to go to my old stomping grounds. At any rate, as I looked around the store (and my wife dreaded what I'd want to buy hehehe!), I saw that he had a "holiday bargain" table. There was a Stalker/Hunter kit- for 39 bucks! That was a huge discount. I immediately grabbed it- how could I pass that up? When I asked him why it was cut so low, he said that the darn things just wouldn't sell, so he lowered the price just to get it out of the store. Well, at that price I decided to help him out and buy it. Hey, I told you he was eccentric.

Interestingly, I was about to get a Storm Talon for Christmas as well- thus I had no choice but to take up my Ultramarines again. As you know, I did the Storm Talon first- a really easy model to put together, and painting it was fun. At the same point, I was also working on the Stalker.

At first, I tried a different blue, which didn't work (the darker blue just didn't look as "right" for the Ultramarines). Thus, I had to re-do it with Altdorf Blue... so if the Stalker looks slightly different from the Storm Talon, there you go. Still looks good for my army though.

The kit is basically a Rhino, which I can pretty much put together in my sleep at this point. The extra armor sides were easy enough to put on though. The trick was the gun- did I want a Stalker or Hunter? I decided on the Stalker, as I thought the anti-air guns looked more "action-packed" if you take my meaning- more dynamic. The guns were a pain to put together and get them just even though. I later discovered that the missile was super easy to put together... I did actually assemble that later, and I may use that on terrain or something (a story driven missile silo or something).

Anyways, once assembled, painting it was fine, and it settled for me how I'd paint the Ultramarines with the new paints. I did it like the Talon- Altdorf blue, with Earthshade gently done in the recesses and the like. Then I cleaned the mess with more Altdorf, followed by line highlighting of Calgar Blue. The metals were done with Leadbelcher, Nuln Oil, and highlights of Ironbreaker.

I painted up some areas of the tank to have battle damage and wear and tear. Its again leadbelcher and ironbreaker. Once the model was done, I decided to put on some transfers- I had experimented with transfers on my Talon, and felt more confident in using them now. I must say they look quite good, and add some punch to the tank. I wouldn't use transfers on my Plague Marines, and I actually draw and paint it on my Khorne Bezerkers, so I don't need it there. Perhaps if I do Thousand Sons... Hahahaha!!

So, is the tank useful? Hmmm. I have only played against a Space Marine force that had one only once. The guy fired it once, but then kept forgetting about it (don't know why). So, I really don't know how it does. As a dedicated anti-air, you run the risk of paying the points but being SOL if the opponent has no flyers (rare nowadays, but still a possibility). Most players now take flyers, so I think a Stalker would be a good investment. And besides, the super sales price meant that I couldn't pass it up, in any case. Hehehe!

Well, that's all for now from the Eye of Terror. Stay tuned for future astropathic messages. (That is, until next time...)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ultramarine Stormtalon Gunship and a White Dwarf Update

Hey there my friendly followers of Chaos. Old Man Chaos is back with another blog update. I have some juicy new pics of a recently completed project- my Ultramarine Stormtalon Gunship. I would also like to update you on the whole White Dwarf debate. So let's get the unpleasantness out of the way first, then dive in to see some pics!

On Sunday, I sent an email to the White Dwarf editors. I basically told them what I thought of the Warhammer: Visions debacle. I was as professional as I could be (not as angry as I had been on my blog, obviously). However, I iterated that the Visions book was not at all what White Dwarf had been, and that was not what I subscribed to, and that I felt that GW had betrayed its loyalest customers. I have not heard a response, nor do I think I will. I just wanted to get that off my chest. I also emailed Apple and told them that GW changed the product. Apple quickly gave me my money back (got it back this morning, as a matter of fact).

Now, at some point, if a particular issue of Visions is Chaos-centric, I might buy it. But it is not something I want every month. One day, if they change the format to something more to my liking, then I'd gladly subscribe to it again. And I will certainly buy the weekly if the contents are what I'm looking for. I won't buy any more Dwarf-centric issues, but when they do 40K stuff I will certainly buy it. I just think that GW should be more careful in the future, and should be more cognizant of how their decisions impact their loyal customers.

Anyways, now that is out of the way, let us check out my latest- an Ultramarine Stormtalon...

I have had Ultramarines since 2005/06. I had been playing Plague Marines and Chaos for a long time (my Dark Eldar had fallen by the wayside). I had decided at some point to chose a "good guy" army, as it were. And you certainly could not get any more "good guy" than the Ultramarines. Initially, I wanted to do Imperial Fists, but there was no way I could pull off that yellow at that time. With today's paints I might be able to, but certainly not then.

At any rate, I decided to go with Ultramarines. Mind you, I didn't do that bright blue that they had been in back in the day. I used some slightly darker blues for them. Unfortunately, I never wrote down what I used, and the new paints just don't quite get that shade, but more on that in a second.

I enjoyed playing Ultramarines, especially against my friend Pete and his Tyranid swarm and my brother's Black Legion. However, I never "loved" them the same way I love Chaos. I don't quite know why, but I guess I like the bad guys more. As it turned out, once the 5th edition book came out, I was pretty much out of the Ultramarines. I just kept doing Chaos, and of course the re-done Dark Eldar more recently.

This past fall, I picked up the Space Marine Codex in hardcover form. I didn't buy it on the ipad, as I figured I wouldn't be using it that much, and I wanted to save room on my iPad. The truth is, it is a great Codex. I have played against it several times, and I have found it to be a very fair and balanced book (even if the centurions are a bit too much at times). I then read the book more closely, and found that I was itching to play Ultramarines again.

Over Christmas, I got a few Space Marine models, in this case, a Stormtalon from my friend Pete. I must say that it was a real ease to put together, and I really like the look of the vehicle. I think it really matches the aesthetic of the Space Marines.

In terms of painting, I did an undercoat of Macragge Blue. Then, I hit it with Earthshade in the cracks and joints, etc. Then I gently brushed on Altdorf Blue- not too thickly. Then I used Calgar Blue for the highlights. This made it slightly brighter than my old Space Marines, but I like the look. I intend on painting all of my Ultramarine stuff like this in the future.

The metal parts I did with Leadbealcher, Nuln Oil, and some brighter metal highlights. The gold was done with a buildup with Ghenna's Gold and a Earthshade wash. The pilot was done in the same blue, but I added green lines on him, to make it look as if the cockpit console lights lit him up. It didn't turn out quite as I had thought, but it was my first attempt to do this technique.

Last, I decided to use transfers for the first time. I had never actually used them before. They are a bit flimsy, and I tore a couple of them, actually. However, I really like how they look on the model. Its just one more detail that I think really makes the model pop. I intend on doing more with transfers on my upcoming Ultramarine projects.

I am really happy with how my Stormtalon came out, and considering I haven't painted Ultramarines in years, the Stormtalon has gotten me excited to paint more Ultramarines. Now, I have to get a couple of games in with them... Ha ha.

Until next time...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review of White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer: Visions

I am going to skip my usual pleasant introduction to just dive right in and review the 2 new Games Workshop offerings, the monthly Warhammer: Visions and the White Dwarf Weekly. Shall we...

Warhammer: Visions

Now, longtime readers to this site know I am a fan of GW. I will be the first to admit when they make a mistake (the prices are too high, and that is hurting them and the players more than anything else). Clearly, I am not a GW hater. Nor do I over react- I am neither rash nor impulsive when it comes to GW. I do not scream that the sky is falling every time they come out with a new Codex or idea. I wait to examine all the possibilities, after the yelling online has died down. Usually, I find, after examination, that GW puts out a fine product overall, with some glitches in there. Look- when you have a storyline and factions that players are fanatical about, you're bound to step on some people's toes. It happens. I believe that GW does a good job most of the time, even with their mistakes. I have always been a pretty happy 40K player- even in the dark days of Chaos 5th edition.

Today, however, I must express my very bitter disappointment with GW. I am more than disappointed- I am furious. For the past year, I have subscribed to White Dwarf via my iPad. Before that, I bought that magazine every month for over a decade. I have seen the changes in that magazine the whole time. Its more recent iteration (starting September 2012) was something I liked. Again, it wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed the mag. When I got my iPad, I loved the digital WD. The entire mag downloaded to my iPad, and I could lug a dozen with me all in the palm of my hand. And the mag had lots of iPad functionality. Even friends of mine who were disenchanted with WD thought the digital edition was nifty. At the end of this past December, I renewed my subscription happily.

Then- early January- word went out that there would be huge changes to WD, that it would be split into weekly and monthly publications. I was doubtful- after all, going from printing 1x a month to weekly would be a challenge. Then, word came officially from GW that it was true. The monthly would be replaced by Warhammer Visions and there would be a weekly WD. My friend Joe said that GW was going to steal my money and not continue my subscription- no, the sky wasn't going to fall, I said. They will either keep sending me the monthly or there would be a credit or something. Shortly thereafter, GW proved me right- current subscribers would get Visions monthly, as before. Crisis averted. And their description of the monthly made me drool- lots of pics for inspiration, John Blacnche, hobby articles galore. A true enthusiasts magazine.

Boy- did they LIE. Yes. They LIED. The mag downloaded to my iPad after updating the app. No problem. I was excited to get this new mag. Then- I looked at it. The damn thing is a stupid pictorial. Just pictures of models. Only descriptive blurbs, no articles. Just page after page of model pics. What? Where's the conversion articles? Where's a battle report (what they put in there is called a "Battle Report", but I assure you it is NOT. Just pics and a small description for each)? Where's the insight from the model and game designers? Terrain making? Fluff? Nada. Zip. Zero.

It is just a spread of pics. Yes, the pics are nice, but... there's no meat. Nothing thought provoking. Yes, some nice pics. But that is all. This is NOT what I subscribed to. At all. I subscribed to a magazine that had several different features, and lots of articles. Warhammer: Visions has none of that. It is pure, utter CRAP. And I am angry that GW misrepresented what this was going to be. THAT is what makes me maddest. The DECEPTION.

I am mystified as to what the HELL they were thinking with this. Who on earth would buy it EVERY month?!! That is nonsense. Now, I could see me buying one if it had lots of Chaos goodness for one month... or, if they offered it quarterly to showcase what they did the past 4 months...but to buy it every month for random pics with nothing to tie it together? It makes NO sense whatsoever. No one is going to buy this every month. No way. It has NOTHING to offer on a monthly basis. It is pretty much a waste.

The worst part is the wasted potential. With some quality hobby articles, this mag could have been strong. Lots of pics, with some great reads- I would have gladly plunked down the cash for it. However, that is not what they produced. What they produced is a waste of paper. And, to top it all off, GW was deceptive in what this would be. That pisses me off. As of now, I am emailing Apple, demanding my money back (since GW can't do anything with Apple apparently). I have never been so totally disappointed with GW. And angry. What a joke.

White Dwarf Weekly

So, in the interest of fairness I downloaded the weekly this morning. You have to type it into the ibook store search bar to find it, by the way. Anyways, it downloaded quick enough and was $3.99. The first thing I noticed was that it was ebook format- I understand the reason for that, but I quickly missed the glossy finish of the WD monthly, which was glorious in the Apple format. Now, by doing it just ebook, they can reach more people. I understand that. But, it does make the mag look less attractive compared to what has come before.

As for the mag- its not bad at all. I found their articles in Tyranids quite insightful and entertaining, as a matter of fact. The mag mostly covered the dwarfs, and as an ad for the new models, it was standard WD fare. They had the rules for some of these dwarfs- I suppose it is a sneak preview of a sort, and that is cool. They had articles looking at some BL books (I'll be checking out scars shortly). A paint splatter for dwrafs was there too. They even had a back end piece showing a reader's model that was sent in via email, and I liked that.

So, what do I think? Well, I don't think I'll buy every week. I don't need to buy it if it focuses solely on armies I don't have / not interested in. However, if say new Chaos, Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard, or Ultramarines are the focus- I'll certainly pick it up.

Now, I get why they did the weekly format. It is to bring people into the stores more, as a business move, I get it. I also personally think that making it weekly gives the buyer more flexibility. Dwarfs this week? Nah. Chaos next week- oh yeah. I think that means someone who bought WD monthly in store, may only buy a couple over the course of 6 months. More buyer choice is a good thing, and I think the weekly WD is just fine.

Final Analysis:

If GW had just done the WD weekly, I could have been behind them 100%. It makes sense, and gives us a better choice- how many WD monthlies were a waste for me because they had a ton of fantasy or LoTR? Now, I have some choice, which is a good thing.

However, GW decided to run with Visions- the WORST idea they have had in some time. The worst part is how they basically LIED to their current subscribers- it is NOT what we subscribed to at all, and it certainly is not an effective substitute. If Visions had actual content, I would be fine. Instead, its just pics that you can find on the damn Internet. Why on earth would I pay to subscribe to that?!

GW should have given the subscribers an option. Give us a store credit for whatever we had left. Or give us WD weekly for that CASH equivalent. Or, how about giving us a real hobby magazine- with terrain building, fluff, conversion projects, etc. ?

I am going to do something that I have NEVER done. I am going to email GW and bitch at them about the biggest, boneheaded play I have ever seen them do. Look- I love the hobby. I love the universe that GW has set up. I love playing the game. I look forward to new models, playing scenarios, terrain, and all of that. I sometimes get frustrated with GW on things like pricing, but I get that they are a company and want to make money. BUT- this Visions is a total piece of garbage, unworthy of this company. Whoever thought of it and made it like this should be sacked. I am now what I have never been at GW- ANGRY.

Now, I know my anger will subside. I will cool off once I get my subscription money back. But, my disappointment will remain for some time. I'll let you guys know when I send off my email to GW.

Until next time...