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Friday, February 27, 2015

In Memoriam

I'm going to skip my usual intro this time around. Word has just come out that Leonard Nimoy has passed away at age 83. As a lifelong Trek fan, this was sad, though not unsurprising news. Nimoy had been ill with COPD for a while, and had been hospitalized this week as a result. At age 83, I think that he had indeed lived long and prospered.

I grew up watching Trek. It was on re-runs on WPIX 11, and my parents, who had both enjoyed the show when it first aired, got me and my brother watching it at a young age. At that impressionable age, I didn't get the bigger concepts or anything- but I liked the sci-fi action and humor. And yes, at that age I thought Spock was the best- later in life, I came to feel that McCoy is the best acted character, but that's another story. I watched The Motion Picture on Videodisc as a child (as well as some episodes on that format), though Wrath of Khan was too scary for me... but I vividly remember seeing Trek III in the theater.

Trek has always been a part of my life, getting me into science fiction books, movies, etc. Nimoy's acting, thoughtfulness, and voice were just such a huge part of that. His manner, his presence, his raising of the eyebrow... He just WAS Spock, you believed that this man was a Vulcan, totally and absolutely. Star Trek would never have worked without him- he was the indeed the heart (ironic for a logical Vulcan). After all, it was his alien nature combined with his humanity that made him compelling. Kirk is a great leader and Shatner IS Kirk, but the captain is not "compelling". McCoy is compelling, but in a different way- he's the "average Joe" in space- fearing transporters and all that high tech stuff- he is us in the 23rd century. But Spock is what Trek really is about--- learning and discovering the unknown, and accepting it, even if it is different from what you are used to. Nimoy made that happen, and without him, there would be no Trek.

I rated all 6 classic Trek movies on this blog. I just re-read them (I wrote them a few years ago and hadn't looked at them since). When I rated them, I was rating them as compared to the other Trek movies.  I believe that all Trek movies (even the maligned V) are great, fun movies, so bump up each rating by one, if you want know how they would REALLY compare to other films in general.

In case you are interested here are some links:  TMP   TWOK     TSFS    TVH     TFF     TUC  

My favorite episodes with Nimoy, in no particular order:

Journey to Babel
Tholian Web
Mirror, Mirror
Amok Time
Errand of Mercy
Doomsday Machine

It is sad, and it has been like a kick in the stomach for me, as I know it has been for any Trek fan. I'm recalling his final lines in ST II- he always has been, and always shall be, our friend.... I know that I, for one, will be watching some of the old Treks tonight, in his memory.

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Nerd Confessional

Hey there everybody! Old Man Chaos is here with another posting from the Eye of Terror. This one is, I think, a bit unusual, but it is something I'd like to do more frequently (when I have the time, that is). So, away we go...

I am, as my wife says, a Nerd. There. I said it. I am a very large nerd. I have been involved with many nerd activities. Warhammer 40K? That makes me Nerd #1, for sure. But, there's more. I love video games. I have been playing video games since the Atari 2600. I was playing video games before they were "cool" (which did not happen till Playstation One in 1995- before that, people played games, but they weren't widespread or a BIG part of culture till then). I owned so many game systems (NES, SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, Turbografix, and much much more).

Does anyone recognize this one?

As I kid, I saw my world through video games. I loved Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Final Fantasy, Sonic, Castlevania, Mega Man, etc. I was skilled at video games (I had no skills in traditional sports), and they transported me to so many places. Sad, but nerd true, I have video game music on my ipod. To this day, I play games.

Nostalgia for the 8 and 16 bit days aside, I believe the pinnacle for gaming was the XBox 360 and Wii days of the mid 2000s. Those were a great few years to be a gamer- the games that came out then were simply amazing- Mass Effect, Fallout, Bioshock, Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, House of the Dead Overkill... plus xbox arcade and virtual console... wow. I must admit, my gaming has slowed down since I got married, but I do own a Wii U (Mario Kart is just fantastic multi-player fun), and I would like to get an XBox One at some point.

I was also, for a very long time, a comic book addict (I think 40K supplanted it, ultimately)- I got into comics in 1989 when I saw the movie Batman- which inspired me to buy a few Batman books, including the trade of A Death in the Family. I started with Bats, but I went to Spiderman, X-Men, and others. I was going comic book shopping once a week, buying tons of issues.

I was there for the comic book explosion and ultimate implosion in the 90s. I had like a billion X-Force 1 bagged, of course. I was there for Death of Superman, and more importantly for me, Knightfall (still a fav). I was there for Morrison's incredible (and unsurpassed) JLA run (that was in college for me by that point). On the Marvel side, my favs were Age of Apocalypse and Infinity Gauntlet. But, I was also there for the messes, like the Clone Saga and Onslaught.

I stopped in 1999/2000 for the most part, as I simply couldn't keep up with all the crossovers and "events" anymore. Ugh. That killed it for me. I briefly returned in 2005 (Thanks to Bats again, as Batman Begins made me go back), just in time for Grant Morrison start his Batman run (which I never finished), and I picked up Civil War. After that, too many damn crossovers reminded me why I stopped, and so I quit cold turkey. Now, I once in a while buy a trade or something. I recently got the Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus- what a pleasure to read. Of course, I use the Internet to monitor major comic developments (Thor is a woman? Puh-lease- Publicity stunt.), but I don't buy anymore. I do still love comic movies, of course.

Speaking of, my third "Nerd love" is movies. I think film is a powerful medium if used correctly. I don't see every movie. Many would bore me or just be unappealing. The movies that I love are sci-fi. Well-done horror* films. Comic movies. Tarantino (he's his own mixed up genre). My love of movies come from my parents, who loved watching movies in their down time.

Growing up when I did (1980s), my parents exposed me to "classics". Star Wars (saw Jedi in the theater). Star Trek (Trek III being the first Trek I saw in theaters). Alien. The Godfather (my Italian father's Bible). The Black Hole. Jaws. Young Frankenstein. My mother took me to see Ghostbusters and Monster Squad. I also saw older sci-fi, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1950s), War of the Worlds (1950s), Godzilla (the FIRST one, thank you). My mother loved classic horror- I saw Dracula with Legosi, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, all those Universals.

My passion for good movies has continued, almost undiminished. On my own, I "found" other films. For a while I was into seriously into horror- but again, the classics- Texas Chainsaw, Evil Dead, Halloween 1-3 (yes, 3), and Romero's Dead trilogy. I was always into sci-fi, of course- I didn't get to Terminator until I was in high school though. I liked Jurassic Park but didn't love it for some reason. Independence Day- now that was a movie! I also got into action films, like Die Hard. In college, I saw a ton of history-related films- Patton, Dr. Strangelove, The Great Dictator, Saving Private Ryan, etc. In the 2000s, we had a great run- Lord of the Rings (which were a revelation), Nolan's Batman (similarly, a revolution in comic films), solid sci-fi like Children of Men and the War of the Worlds remake.

I have seen many movies with my wife- we do date nights by going out to dinner and a movie. Sometimes we see what she wants (Twilight. Yes- love makes you do strange things). Sometimes its what I want (Watchmen). My wife loves the Marvel films (she loved GotG), so that's great news for me. We see Oscar bait in the winter (like American Hustle, which was excellent). Most recently, we saw American Sniper- a fantastic anti-war film masquerading as a gung-ho war film (idiots on BOTH sides are having knee-jerk reactions without really "seeing" the movie). We are totally looking forward to Avengers 2 this summer, and the new Star Wars, naturally.

So- what was this article, anyways? An exercise in nostalgia? Hoping to just get readers thinking about their own nerd experiences? Putting readers to sleep? Maybe all of the above. This site, Corners of Chaos, will always be Warhammer 40K focused, but I would like to do other things. Perhaps reviews of some of my favorite movies or classic comic stories. So, this was my first step- and I hope that I will be able to do more on this blog... Or just go back to 40K, as my next project beckons to me... Harlequins are certainly tempting me...

Until Next Time...

Friday, February 6, 2015

Darkl Eldar Viodraven Bomber

Greetings to you, my fellow supplicants of the false emperor. Old Man Chaos is back for another go, with your approval. Last time I showed off my commissioned Tyranids. This time, I just finished some of my own again- without further ado, allow me to show off my Voidraven Bomber!

Now, some have said that the Viodraven Bomber isn't worth its points cost, or that the Razorwings simply do a better job of it. All of that may be true, but there is no denying one simple fact- the model itself is absolutely amazing. It is very large, but it still has the sleek look and profile. It ties in perfectly to the Dark Eldar aesthetic, but yet looks like something special.

Just as a side rant, I am still not sure what to make of the Dark Eldar codex. The new 7th edition book seems to be weaker than the previous late 5th edition, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Wyches are fairly bad, due to overwatch and the fact that only one can have a haywire grenade- thus taking the versatility out of them. Wracks come in 5s, so that you CAN'T put a Haemonculus and 4 Wracks on a Venom. That blows. The changes to some of the vehicle upgrades is disconcerting, to say the least. They took out the cool characters (which I, admittedly, never used, but I think it hurt taking them out).

They did a few things good, though. The ability to put 3 Talos Engines in one squad is a scary proposition. The Scourges are improved, as you can now take 4 weapons in a squad of 5 (though it means they are likely to get killed fast- but if you aren''t concerned with Battle Forged, then you COULD have a field day taking a bunch of CHEAP scourges with Haywire rifles. The Razorwings are as nifty as ever, and I still like me a Ravager or two.

It only depresses me, though, when I see what is apparently a bang up job GW did with Necrons. As far as can I see it, GW did nerf a few things, but tightened up others, making the Necrons a tough, viable force (time will tell, but it looks solid upon initial inspection). The Dark Eldar didn't seem to fare as well, though I have only gotten in a few games under my belt with the new book.

At any rate, one of the big enigmas of the codex is the Voidraven Bomber. Its 160, but is armor 10 all round. That means some twin linked bolter fire can damage it, For 160?! That's insane. It SHOULD have been at least 11 all round, since it is a heavier-looking flyer than the Razorwing. Ugh. It almost seems like a waste of points.

The two stock void lances are good, but the mine is a mixed bag- one use, and it COULD scatter 6". It seems to be not quite as effective as it could be (a lucky hit will kill just about anything though- but I think you can take cover saves against it... if I'm reading the rules right). The ability to take missiles helps, but some of them are pricey. Add night shields, and this thing could be over 200 points--- just so a couple of bolters can take it down. That just makes no real sense to me. I'm not a crazy, must win type of player (certainly not if I play Dark Eldar), but this just seems stupid. I can't imagine taking it all too often, because of these glaring deficiencies.

But again, the model itself is great. It looks like a total bad-ass. It fits in with the Eldar/Dark Eldar flyers very well, and would make a great centerpiece to a Dark Eldar army (at least till the oft-rumored, almost mythical Vect re-do is released... if it is released). The clear plastic canopy for the bomber is a great touch, adding even more character to the vehicle.

Paint wise, I didn't do anything too wild here. I outlined the edges with Khorne Red. Then I decided to use Tamiya Red. It made the red more vivid on the large model. To my eyes, the Khorne Red outline is fine on the troops and smaller vehicles, but on the Voidraven it looked drowned out. Hence, the brighter red of the Tamiya Red. I liked it so much, that I have decided that all my Dark Eldar flyers will make use of that particular red. They still look like part of the same army, though they stand out a bit more.

So- when I do finally get a chance to use the Voidraven Bomber, I will report it here on the blog- I just don't know if it is battle effective or not. But hey, I had to get at least one, just for the sake of completion if nothing else (and it is one cool looking model).

And how will I be able to resist buying Harlequins? (Simple answer, I won't be able to, naturally). I have already been thinking of ways to tie them visually into my Dark Eldar army. Can't wait to get my grubby little mitts on them!

Well, that's all for now. Until next time...

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Commissioned Tyranids"?!?

Hey there my friends! I hope the warp finds you and yours well today (or if Father Nurgle has blessed you with a seasonal cold, even better). I'm back with another installment of Chaos Corner. As you can no doubt see by the title, I have something completely (totally) different this time...

Commissioned work. That is something I never thought I'd do. I will admit, my painting skills have come a long, long way since I started the hobby. Currently, I turn out solid, consistent models. Sometimes I impress myself. However, I see the works of others (in person and online) and I just KNOW I will never be that good of a painter- light sourcing, fine details, drawings, etc. I have seen models that I think are practically works of art!

I know I don't have the skill to attain that. As it stands now, I paint models to a good tabletop standard. My opponents have always said they are happy to fight me, as my models are nicely painted, which is the best praise I can get. I just won't win any painting awards. *

*(I did win an award once at a tournament for "Best Looking Army". It was my Plague Marines. And it wasn't "Best Painted"... I won largely due to my conversions and heavily fluff-themed look).

As my readers my know, I have recently introduced my friend Brian to the game, and he has taken to playing like a fish to water (he likes to play but will never build his own army, I suspect). Well, one day he tells me his friend is going to be opening up a gaming-type store. He wants to include video gaming (on premises, like an arcade), but also some more traditional types of games, card games, and even- yes, war gaming. Brian had told him about Warhammer and the plethora of other games (like Star Wars, Warmachine, etc). So, the pair got the idea that they could set up a display case for some of these things. I think you know where this is going, don't you?

So, as a result, I was commissioned by Brian and his friend to paint up the Deathstorm box. My "fee" was to keep the campaign book inside...  I was excited, as I have never really painted Tyranids before. I did a couple of 'Nid corpses for my Ultramarines, but I copied Pete's paint scheme of red skin and grey carapace. So, what would I do?

I knew that I wanted a snow theme base- after all, it is winter out there. I wanted a paint scheme that could both compliment and contrast with that. I also wanted to play around with painting techniques that I don't normally use on a regular basis. But, whatever I did, I wanted them to look striking in the display case. They don't have to be masterpieces, but they should be at a tabletop standard (which is usually what I shoot for).

First, I sprayed them white- which is highly unusual for me (I start everything with black undercoat). That gave me the already white snow base, but it would also allow me to do something  else I wouldn't normally do- to do washes over the white.

I washed the bodies head to toe in Seripham Sepia. It got into the recesses quite well, and it turned the model this  yellow brown color- I lifted this technique from the ubiquitous How To Paint Citadel Miniatures guide (but I had never done it before). I did go a little heavier than the guide seems to suggest- I wanted them to look a little dirty, molted, with skin imperfections and dirt from crawling around semi-digested biomass all day... I then used some Earthshade in the cracks, joints, etc, just to show more depth.

The carapace and claws had to both reflect the cold winter base, but also contrast with the skin. So, I based it Kantor Blue, then layered on Altdorf Blue. Then I used a rather liberal Drakenhof wash. Once it dried, I highlighted with Altdorf, and used Temple Guard for the edge highlight. Thus, the carapace is both a cold blue (for winter) and a great contrast with their light flesh.

 The teeth, naturally, were painted white. The eyes were layered Yriel, then Flash Gitz yellow. Speaking of yellow, I used the yellow wash to do the whip and some of the "wires" attached to the weapons. I washed the guns with the blue, trying to show that they are organically grown from the same cellular matter as the carapaces. The tongues I washed with crimson wash. To the Carnifex I added Nurle slime (for the toxin sacs, etc).

So, that's pretty much the story. I painted my first Tyranids, with a technique I don't use too often, and on commission (which I never do). I must say that briefly I felt the urge to buy more 'Nids for my own, but one look from my wife dispelled that temptation- she may have gotten me the Sector Imperialis, but I shouldn't push my luck *. Truth is, Chaos is still my true hobby horse, with Dark Eldar in there too. It was fun to paint up the Nids though.

*(Is it so wrong that I would love to paint a Tervigon in my colors? And maybe even a Mawloc? Is it really so wrong? Sadly, my wife thought it was wrong lol ;-)

I'll be working on the Blood Angels side of Deathstorm in the coming weeks, while alternately working on my own stuff (they will not be needed for the display case until May/June, so I have time).

Until next time... stay chaotic, my friends.