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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Hobby Lair

Hello Chaos fanatics and mutant scum! Welcome to yet another fatal and furious edition of Chaos Corner. Old Man Chaos is here for a look behind the curtain if you will. This will be a bit of a look into my hobby life. A look into... THE CHAOS CORNER itself. If you are not prepared for this, turn back now... otherwise, get ready to see horrors beyond imagination...

Recently, my wife and I bought a new house. The house had an unfinished basement that was the footprint of the house. All my life, I have wanted a man cave, complete with big TV, videogames and... dedicated Warhammer space (that is NOT common for a man cave huh?). I really wanted a place where my hobby flag could fly; a place where I could leave my Warhammer out for all to see.

In my previous house, I had a painting station on a desk in my bedroom. All of my armies were kept in foam trays and boxes in my basement. The aforesaid basement was an unfinished basement filled with all my family's stuff. I had a gaming table down there, but it made for a crowded basement. Furthermore, there was a boiler down there and as my friend Pete often said, when the boiler was on it felt like the gates of hell had opened down there (very fuel inefficient too).

At any rate, that was then. Let's talk about now. My wife and I had visions of doing work on our house (new kitchen, etc). The basement beaconed to me---- but would it be feasible? So after a lot of discussion with my wife, and planning and more discussion, we came to it. We would divide the basement into two halves divided by a wall (with a door, obviously). The one side would be laundry, etc. The other half would be my man cave. I would finally get my chance to have a dedicated hobby lair.

First and foremost, was the table. As my loyal readers know, I had some great friends and family build a suitable table. I have made one alteration to the table since then. I got some felt and added it to the sides of the table. These are my "rolling lanes" for the dice. While throwing dice on the war gaming area is nice, the truth is I hate "cocked dice", and I really hate the dice hitting into my lovingly painted (and sometimes delicate) models. Hence the rolling lanes. Now I put the felt so that the table is protected. Further, it makes it look really professional LOL.

The other rolling lane can be used for rolling dice, or as we do, use it for command points, cards, books, dead models, etc. Having the two lanes on either side of the table really gives the table something special. If you are going to build your own table, I strongly recommend a 4x8 table (rather than the traditional 6x4). My friend Joe, who has a gaming table of his own, says that the rolling lanes make a huge difference in both keeping things organized and keeping the game moving (again, no cocked dice, no dice knocking models around).

Another thing that I did was really try to utilize the space under the table for my terrain. Over the years I have collected a ton of terrain. Personally made terrain, odds and ends, GW terrain, friend built terrain, etc. I can't store it all under the table. So I did the best I could, organizing it so I could maximize the amount of terrain that was under there, but having it still be accessible. I got some boxes for the terrain, and used them to add more storage space (terrain won't spill out of the box).

Around my table I have placed some Warhammer art. I found a couple of pieces on Amazon that I really liked. One is a winter scene from one of the Dawn of War games. I love it because it is just so evocative of the Guard, as well as the cold environment. My second piece of art is one of the new renditions of THE battle of the Horus Heresy, with the Warmaster fighting the Emperor with Sangunius laying "dead" in the background. This is the largest art piece and it is near the center of the table. I think this is THE moment in Warhammer, so it deserves the special prominence. Interestingly (and unintentionally) the grey color in the art is similar to the paint color I used on my walls... The third art piece is the Chaos symbol with the artwork from 3.5 edition codex for the Chaos gods. I saw this and said how could Chaos Corner not have this on the wall?! LOL

Finally, I have several pics that I cut (literally) out of the old edition rule books- how many do you recognize? And I have two that came with the box sets of special characters. They just needed an 8 1//2 x 11 frame each. Small, but still effective for my purposes.

Next up in the Chaos Corner is my 40K model display cases. The cases are from Ikea. They go together pretty quickly, though I recommend having at least two people putting them together- I thank my brother for doing that with me. At any rate, I have (many, but not all) of my models on display. Again, this is something that I have always wanted to do- have my models out for all to see.

I have in my cases Ad Mech, Khorne, Thousand Sons, and of course, nearly two cases of Plague Marines (and that doesn't include Plague Zombies). My Ultramarines are not on display, as I let Brian use them and thus they are kept in carry cases.

Up next is my painting station. It is still just a desk, buttressed by two bookshelf units. I get to place extra models and paints on these bookshelves because... its my Chaos Corner and why not? Previously I couldn't have done that. Now I can. I have all my 40K books and White Dwarfs in easy reach too so I consult while painting.

That is the first half of my Chaos Corner. The other half is my multimedia setup. I have connected most of my old videogame systems up to my TV. I can now play my old TurboGrafix 16 system then switch over to my Super Nintendo! Again, a dream I have always had and has now become a reality.

Finally there is my collection of autographs that I have gotten from various ComicCons and I-Cons and the like. I am particularly proud of my George A. Romero signature. I also have Darth Maul, the Emperor, Captain Kirk, and more! I am happy to display these in my Chaos Corner.

So here is the whole thing: 

Well, now the curtain has been lifted, and you can see the complex operations happening in the Chaos Corner. I am very happy to share my gaming area to inspire you as you build yours. It took a long time, and a lot of work, but is such a pleasure for me. I am grateful to my wife for supporting me in what I wanted.

Until Next Time...

Friday, November 24, 2017

Shadespire!?! Where's the 40K???

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Welcome back to the infamous Chaos Corner! I have gotten over my disappointment regarding the lackluster Mortarion by doing a completely different project. My wife got me Warhmmer: Underworlds Shadespire for my birthday.

I heard that Shadespire was a quick play and fairly straightforward rules-wise. Although 40K isn't AS complex as it used to be, it is still a long game with a ton of rules mechanics, this sounds like something much cleaner. I heard that Shadepsire was something you could play in under half an hour.

Now, I was aware that Necromunda was also coming out... and while I'd wanted to get it I realized that it was something that my friends probably wouldn't play, and it looks to be quite complicated (as it deserves to be). I have always wanted Necromunda, but I thought Shadespire fit into what I wanted- a quick game that anyone can learn to play. So I decided on Shadespire, even though I don't play fantasy and I have never painted a fantasy model before.

The models in the box are great. Each one has a ton of personality and dynamic poses. Now, doing the Chaos Tribesmen was very simple for me, as I have painted plenty of devotees of Khorne in my time (my second biggest army is Khorne Bezerkers).

This time though I painted their armor plates Mephiston Red rather than Khorne Red. I did this as I figured a brighter pallet goes better with Fantasy than 40K. I did however use the same Brass Scorpion that I used for my Khorne Bezerkers for the raised armor trim.

Their flesh I painted with some various skin tones and colors. But I am particularly proud of how I did the scars. Crimson wash over the raised scars, with Bloodletter glaze added to give it a bright look. The wound areas look raw, which is exactly the effect I was going for.

I really like the look of the Khornate warband. They are very nicely tied together but still distinct. I really like the one with the big axe about to be brought down on a victim (his name is "Blooded Saek" for the record). The war chief Gorebeard is also cool with the severed head in hand. I also like Karsus, looking as if he is going to grab his victim and proceed with the chop chop.

The real challenge for me was the Sigmar Knights. I have never painted (or even assembled) these types of models before. Putting them together was easy enough (though one of their arms gave me a hard time).

Now the question was how to paint them? I have seen many color schemes for Sigmar Knights. I was originally going to do bright silver and blue, but I thought better of it- if I was going to get people to try the game, I thought I should paint them as they look on their cards- gold and blue.

I used Retributor  Gold as the base followed by a wash of Argax earth shade. I then proceeded to highlight the edges with Liberator Gold. I used Kantor Blue to do the shield and shoulder plates. Again, these models were a breeze to paint, and I enjoyed working on something completely different.

So it took me a week and a half- from assembly through painting to finish them. Like 40K, I refused to play the game until the models were fully painted. That's just the way Old Man Chaos rolls LOL. On the day I finished, my wife said she'd be willing to try a game. What? My wife playing something Warhammer?? Holy Cow! Forget the Eye of Terror- I'm now in the Twilight Zone!

At any rate, the game was pretty much just as promised. The rules are fairly clear, and the gameplay runs smoothly. I won the first game by a few victory points, but my wife had a good time playing. Then she challenged me to a rematch. I don't mind saying- she kicked my ass. She got like 10 victory points compared to my 2. She apologized for the humiliating defeat, but I laughed and asked "Best 2 out of 3"?

In a sign that she liked the game, she agreed to a third match up. This one was very close indeed- I was down to my warband leader and that was all. Luckily, I managed to draw good objective cards that I was able to secure (on the last round no less). It came down to the wire, and I won 7 to 4. IF I hadn't gotten the lucky draw my wife would have taken the game! My wife said she enjoyed the game and would certainly play it again.

This is fantastic. I never thought I'd see the day that my wife would be playing with Warhammer models in a Games-Workshop game. Now- I wonder if she would like a Necron army or a Tyranid army... Ha Ha. No, that won't happen. But I am very glad I got to share some of my hobby with her. It is telling about Shadespire- it is a good pick up and play game. No army lists. No points. The only thing one could do to make the game more complex is to deck -build, but even then it should be fine.

I am looking forward to trying this game with my friends and maybe even my brother, who hasn't played Warhammer in ages. Uh oh... my wife wants a rematch! And she has that determined look on her face. My win streak (such as it is) may be coming to an end soon lol

Seriously, if you're looking for a quick fast paced game that is easy to learn then Shadespire is your ticket. If my wife could enjoy Warhammer, then that tells you all you need to know. The game is highly recommended by me. Until next time...

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mortarion :-(

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Old Man Chaos is back with yet another piece of hobby goodness (or badness, depending on your point of view). This article is a bit mixed in terms of my own feelings and sentiments. So let's take a look...

So, I must admit to several things. First, I was really excited by the idea of a Death Guard codex and special releases. I was also greatly looking forward to the new units, the new tank particularly. Of course, I was stoked about the impending release of Mortarion. Especially as I loved my finished Magnus- what a great model.

Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed on all fronts. The Death Guard codex is lackluster. It is very gimmicky with the POTENTIAL Mortal Wounds, but it is not strong, relying on hordes of Poxwalkers (which is fine, but I want an all marine option too). As it stands, the Plague Marines are too expensive points wise. Further the book invalidated things like Heldrakes and the like (I guess you could have a separate CSM detachment for them, but that becomes annoying). The Plaguecrawler is also a lackluster vehicle with a poor ballistic skill. I want to get one, but the rules make it suck in my opinion. And then, there's Mortarion...

I have never felt so torn on a GW model. On the one hand, its great to have another Daemon Primarch on the field. Mortarion is a large model, much larger than Robute Guilliman (though smaller than Magnus, which I "get"). The inclusion of Silence and the Lantern shows that GW pays attention to their own fluff. Finally, the face and gas mask is very nicely done- he looks sickly and deformed, but still strong. Love the face. And his armor is quite cool too, complete with pockmarks and the like.

Unfortunately, I have way too many problems with the rest of the model. First, the total lack of posibility. The model only goes together two ways. One way both weapons are down. The other the gun is pointed (obviously I went with that one). But I am really upset about the poses. I envisioned Mortarion sweeping with his scythe like the grim reaper, rather than it just kind of being at his side.

I am also not too fond of Mortarion's pose as a whole. I despise how it looks like Mortarion is leapfrogging. I know its supposed to make him dynamic. But Mortarion shouldn't be dynamic. His is slow creeping death, not a jumpy and hovering. I imagine him standing all nice and decayed, like a monolith. I also dislike how the cloak holds him up- it just looks stupid in my eyes.

Finally, the other things on the model make it look WAAAAAYYYY too busy. There are way too many censers on Mortarion. One would have been sufficient. As it stands there's just too many jutting off him. And then there's the Nurglings. I made a huge mistake in putting them on his base. I did because he MUST have the two flying ones carrying the censers (otherwise you would have to make some nasty cuts on the model).

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wings. The model comes with two bug wings, which look similar to the wings on the daemon Plague Drones of Nurgle. On a regular daemon prince they would be cool. But Mortarion needs something bigger and more evil looking. The bug wings just look silly on him. So I added different wings, from the old Balrog LoTR set. He looks more like an angel of death instead of moth man. LOL

The model took me forever to paint. Part of the problem is that it is way too busy and detailed. Deatil is fine, but add on the cloak, the nurglings, the censers, etc... well, it tends to slow painting production down quite a bit. Then there is another issue. Enthusiasm. Or the lack thereof. I was just so not into painting him. Unlike say Magnus or the Bloodthirster, I wasn't too excited to paint Mortarion. I just kept feeling indifferent about the model. No doubt the paint job suffered as a direct result.

So how did he turn out? Considering all of the above not too bad, though he pales in comparison to my work on Magnus or the bloodthirster. It's just too bad I don't like the model more. To me, while I get what GW was going for, it just doesn't work for me. I am looking forward to using him in battle sometime soon.

Sorry if this article seemed to be a complain-fest. But hey its my blog so I'm allowed LOL

I am however looking forward to my next projects. I'm finishing up a few more mechanicus pieces (Rangers with Arquebuses). I also have some of the Plague Marine special characters which I got from my friend Pete. Finally, my wife bought Shadespire for me. I just like the idea of a fast paced game that takes less than half an hour. And I love the models in the set. Reminds me of Heroquest a little bit...

Until Next Time... 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Let's Celebrate Mortarion and the New Codex with some new Plague Marines

Well, after that rather sad interlude in which Robute Guilliman took control of Chaos Corner, I am pleased to say that thanks to Mortarion the Death Lord, Guilliman was chased out and thus Chaos Corner is back in the hands of the gods (and Old Man Chaos himself, naturally).

I am very excited about getting Mortarion and the codex. Plus all the new models (terminators, the vehicles, etc). Great times for us Death Guard players, no doubt. Our own codex? How wild is that? My only regret is that Heldrakes aren't in the book- YES, you can bring them in a Chaos keyword detachment but.. I have 2 Heldrakes of Nurgle after all! LOL It'll be fine, but I wouldn't be doing my job as a Chaos player without complaining about something...

Anyways, I have a bunch of the Plague Marines from the Dark Imperium box set. Lets start with a model that is both cool but a bit weird, the Plaguecaster.

I like the model, but still not sold on the smog he's blowing as it were. I also think the staff is a bit too small for the rest of him (at lease I gave him a Death Guard icon for the top- a small conversion). I do love his guts hanging out there though. Nicely done GW on that, just wish the rest of him was that good.

Speaking of guts hanging out and looking good, the Lord of Contagion is next. I really dig this model. He just looks badass (indeed, I think he looks better than the new Typhus, based on the pics). That axe just poised for action, the direction of the helms spike. The guts spilling out. The dead Nurglings underfoot. What a great model.

Instead of doing his cape dark, I opted to go a light tan color (Rakarth Flesh) with many brown washes at the bottom and recesses, giving it a damp and dirty feel (and not just dirty). This is slick with dirt and filth.

Another model I like is the Noxious Blightbringer. Again, he looks pretty badass, even with the Nurglings capering on him. I wish he were pointing his gun at something, but alas the model only goes together one way.

I love the horns and the bell. The horns are Rakarth with brown washes. The bell I decided to do like brass, rather than outright rust. I just thought it looked better that way. Besides, there would be plenty of rust for the rest of the army...

Now, for the Plague Marines. Most of these models are just amazing. The vents. The potato masher German style grenades. The spiked helms. I would like more blood and guts but perhaps we shouldn't overdo that.

As for painting- I did a few different variations. Some I based in the new Death Guard green (the darkest). Others were done in Nurgling Green (middle), and others still with Ogryn Cammo (the brightest).I used Balthazar Gold for the trim.  Then I washed them with regular Eathshade, making the whole model slightly duller and dirtier.

After all that was done, I added all the slime and blood details. I used greens, purples, or flesh colors for the tentacles and growths. I also did the metals rusty- the plague knives, guns, etc. I started with dark brown, then orange, then Leadbelcher. Again I wanted it rusty and dull.

These models are exactly what I had envisioned when I made my conversions all those years ago. At the time, I used putty for the stomachs. Guitar wire for their air hoses. Nails with the heads cut off and stuck into their helms like a WW1 German helmet (just like the pics). Now with these new models, you get all of that now, without the work of conversion.

That brings me to something a bit more serious. So much GW stuff looks great, but is very very mono-pose. It is more difficult to be creative with these models. Not that I have the time to convert an entire army, but these guys go together one way only (though I did a head swap on one- but that was nothing).

As a Chaos player, I love conversions. I'm glad the models look so good now, but there isn't much to differentiate my new Plague Marines from anyone else's, which hurts Old Man Chaos' feelings a bit.

I now feel compelled to convert Mortarion somehow. I won't know until I get the model if I can do any alteration / personalization. But the fact that GW is proudly proclaiming he has two poses is a bit outrageous. It is almost as if they are challenging me to convert him somehow... LOL

Well, that's it for now. Enjoy the Death Guard goodies!

Until next time...