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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GW Financials (Economics 101 with Old Man Chaos)

Hey there denizens of the warp. Old Man Chaos here with another posting.  I want to discuss GW financials. Now, I'm not in any way, shape, or form an economist or a businessman. How could I be- I spend my money on a crazy hobby!

At any rate, their money is down and all that. Many are saying the sky is falling and GW is doomed. I say that, while possible, it is very unlikely at this point. Here are 3 reasons why these financials, while not great, do not mean the utter destruction of the company that many seem to love to hate:

1- The Economy- look, the economy has been sputtering for several years. That is a fact. Money is tight. The price of EVERYTHING (not just GW models) is going up while wages are flat (stagflation). The first thing to go in a sluggish economy is some of the luxuries and discretionary spending. A hobby like this is a casualty of the economy. I know that if my wages were going up and prices were OK I know I'd be on another army by now. Which leads me to...

2- Entertainment is down- I read an article last week how Hollywood is down for this summer. Even though there have been solid movies attendance is down (high prices? competition? sound familiar). The article even said that only Guardians of the Galaxy could save the summer (it won't, no matter how great it is). I just read today that Nintendo profits are WAAAAAY down (numbers make GW's look like a picnic). Again, I don't think this is the end of Nintendo either. Thus, it isn't just a GW thing per se. Entertainment in general is down.

3- Lots of Licensing Potential- For years, GW has resisted most efforts at branching their properties out into other formats and areas. We have seen an uptick in video games (mostly mobile), but that's it- nothing else. Their "IP" has so much potential- video games, shirts, toys, books, movies, board games. There are other ways to branch out and make money. They have a long, long way to go to be desperate enough to sell their IPs cheaply, that's for sure.

That doesn't mean that GW should be smiling. They do have problems, and they need to address them:

1- Gain new players- its simple- like comics, and videogames, movies- young people have to get involved. That's what will both increase profits and keep the game going. As it stands now, the game is too expensive to just "jump into",  especially if you are a teenager whose parents are being careful with their money. Some (not all) of these kits and codexes have to come down in price so that newcomers can get in. Without them, it won't last in the longer run.

2- Keep vets "happy"- now, that is a tall order. Our 40K fanbase is a large, diverse, and sometimes unruly lot. Some are downright cynical. Others, like Horus and Lorgar, now hate the thing they love most. There is no "one formula" to keep long time players happy. However, there are some things that they can try:

a) Sell codexes with a code for their digital counterpart without increasing prices
b) Have GOOD sales from time to time (20% off? Membership discounts?)
c) Continual support for all armies, but allowing us a breather too
d) Improve Warhammer: Visions
e) Make campaigns/codexes in softcover to lower costs (I want the Red Waaagh book, but I just can't afford it at 50)
f) God-specific codexes (for us Chaos guys, naturally)

3- Continue to make superior product- truth is, GW models are still great. Their rules system is fairly good, though it could be better. Their fluff is second to none. This is their strength, and they need to continue it- no resting on laurels here, lest smaller companies begin to pass them by.  However, they need better price points to keep people buying. Nothing is for free, but no one wants to feel gouged either.

Well, that's my 2 cents anyway. I think that the "sky is falling" cry is way overblown, I think that GW needs to think seriously about where to go from here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blast From the Past: The Plaguereaper!

Hello there and greetings from the eye of terror (AKA the Internet). Old Man Chaos is back with yet another edition of Chaos Corner. I have been busy working, but I have had some modeling time in between. I have been working on more Nurgle stuff... but it has a ways to go to get to completion. So, I've decided to show off a model that you may have seen a few pics of, but have not seen a "full spread" on. So, without further ado, lets see a "blast from the past"... The Plaguereaper.

Ah... it takes me back to the days when Apocalypse was first introduced and the first plastic Baneblade appeared. I was enthralled by their picture of the Plaguereaper. The vats... the living cannon with the open maw and drooling slime... I thought it was just fantastically done.

Thus, when the plastic model came out and I scooped one up, I knew what I wanted to do. The only problem was I had no idea how to do it. Sadly, as I tried various ideas I simply could not do the slime vats. There was no satisfactory way to do it without it looking bad. To this day it is one of my biggest disappointments  as a modeller. I just couldn't find the way. I wonder, if the model just came out now... I've learned so much more since those days- I wonder if I could do it now? (And for the record, no, I am not getting another Baneblade).

So, if I couldn't do the vats, I HAD to find a way to do the pus cannon and maw. I think I did well here, if I do say so myself. How did I do it? First, I wrapped heavy brown tape around the barrel of the gun. I wrapped unevenly, so some parts were thicker or more uneven than other. Then, I put green stuff over the tape and then sculpted ridges, depressions, and the like. I also put Chaos Spawn "hooks" or arms or whatever you want to call them for the gaping mouth.

In my oldest converted Nurgle Plaguemarines, I used guitar wire and putty to make re-breathers. I wanted to carry on that theme with the Plaguereaper. I used guitar wire on the cannon, again trying to copy the Apoc one. I didn't go that crazy, but just enough to tie it into my army.

I also decided to add some kind of banner. At the time, I wanted the icon of Nurgle to be visible over the cannon, so I made the banner pole very high. Now, I think it is in face way too high. I should have made that pole a little bit shorter. However, I have no intention of redoing it, so its going to stay that way.

I also decided to do something with the back- which had Imperial iconography that I felt had to go (I don't care about the tank treads). So, again, using putty work and some spawn tentacles, I made a rather ugly looking daemonic-thing back there. The eye I did in my nurgle daemon eye colors- red and white with a black pupil (all of my Plaguebearers have it, if you look closely). I think of it as a daemon that is ripping through and mutating the hull all at the same time- the tank is powered by the daemonic entity within.

I cannot recall how I painted it since the paint colors have changes since then. I imagine I started out with Dark Angels green, then I stippled on Cammo Green quite liberally, with a few stipples of Rotting Flesh or something like that. The rust was my patented scorched brown with orange and metal stipples, with a brown wash to tone down the orange.

So, that's the end of this post folks. Hope you enjoyed the look at my Plaguereaper. I must confess in the last game it was destroyed by an enemy Baneblade, so it is thirsty for revenge...

Until next time, when I will show you some pics of models that the Imperium would rightly describe as an abomination!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

For Your Consideration: Plague Drones of Nurgle

Hey there my fellow denizens of the warp. Old man Chaos is back with another installment of the Chaos Corner. This summer hasn't been quite as relaxing as I had hoped thus far, but that's life. However, I have finished some models though, so without further ado, I present for your consideration.... Plague Drones of Nurgle!

I had gotten my first three Plague Drones when they first came out. These first three were a pain to put together, and I struggled to find a good paint scheme for the flies. I tried some things that I felt just didn't work. I then got sidetracked with other projects that just kept popping up. The real problem was that I just didn't find a good look for the bugs. The Plaguebearers I could do in my sleep, but these giant, ugly flies... I just didn't know what to do.

Then at Christmas, I received another 3 from my wife. I didn't put them together at first at all- again, other projects kept coming. Then, about a month and a half ago, I had the urge to put the new three together. Now that I knew what to do, these new 3 went together very quickly. With that, I became inspired to push ahead and get them painted. Once I hit upon the right combination (and a few great ideas from my friend Pete), I got into a groove and felt confident in how they were turning out.

So, what did I end up doing? For the fly bodies, I started with a Zandri Dust basecoat followed by a rather liberal shading of Earthshade. Then, I did a light drybrushing of Karak Stone. The result was a somewhat pale but very bloated looking color. After so many experiments, I really liked how they came out.

For their carapace and legs I did black with Stegadon Green OR Incubi Darkness edge highlights (I alternated on which I used, as I liked both). The wings I give all due credit to Pete, who had a great idea. The wings would be basecoated with Rakarth Flesh. Then, there would be one of three washes: green, blue, or purple. This was followed up by a coat of gloss varnish. Thus, the wings now had an iridescent look, and the different washes ensures that the bugs wings are all unique, yet certainly look like a unified force.

I was also very liberal with my the technical paints, slime and blood. While you certainly can go too far with these paints, I figured daemons can absolutely look a little more extreme and that's fine. After all, these buggers (ha ha) are quite large and, while not a centerpiece for the army, they do stand out. So, I put some extra slime to make them look all Nurgly. I particularly put slime on/in the proboscis- ewww indeed.

I finished them a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't get to take pics of them until today actually. Did I mention that my studio set is really good? I do enjoy taking pics with it. Simple to use, with great results. All I need is a more professional camera...

Well, I hope that you liked the models. I am looking forward to using them pretty soon. Until next time...