Sunday, 29 January 2012

Wyrd Science! Or: How I Learned To Stop Looting Tanks And Love The Warpstone

Good evening and welcome to my inaugural post on the Beard Bunker and my very first unaccompanied foray into the blogosphere!

Unlike Charlie, (a self-confessed hobby butterfly, whose Dark Eldar stand around all day, wandering what will happen first: will their souls be devoured by Slaanesh or will they get an undercoat) I am a hobby monomaniac. I am happy to indulge in all sorts of long term, ambitious and lengthy projects, on the strict proviso that the project concerns Orks.
Hence, the sort of thing that I will usually be working on will look something like this:

So when the Warhammer challenge came along, I viewed it with some trepidation – it wouldn’t involve Orks, Tanks, or Orks driving Tanks. Hmmm.
However, I did have a box of Skaven from Island of Blood hanging around, and I was reasonably excited about them. Whilst the Skaven  weren’t Orks, they had the benefit of erratic contraptions, good looking miniatures, a horde army and a reckless disregard for their compatriot’s safety (A bit like some of my clients)…So Orks, but with fur. Well that sounds alright. I’m all over that like a Greek finance minister over a WMF bailout.
After a session on ‘how to paint rats quickly’ from Charlie, my fears of a Skaven army taking from now until the end of time were allayed and I knuckled down to some rat painting. 

 Bring on the Warhamsters!

I'm particularly enjoying painting warpstone (it is green after all) and having a bodge at source lighting.

Well, these are some of them, the whole unit looks a bit like this:

Et Voila! A monster unit of clanrats with shields and miscellaneous pokey sticks that didn't take forever to paint.

Next up will be a movement tray, a slightly smaller unit of clanrats, then my Warboss and some slaves. I think I'll have a bit more fun with the slaves and do some converting.

Those that know me, know that I do a lot of travelling as part of my work. One thing that has helped me get this painting done quickly is this:


In it is a water pot, five brushes, all the paints I need to paint basic rats, some paper tissue for the brushes and a pallete / covering for the work surface made of one M&S carrier bag; all in a convenient plastic box. So, whether I'm in a Premier Inn in Cardiff, or a Premier Inn in Teeside, or any of the other numerous Premier Inns in which I spend the vast majority of my week in, I've got all the stuff I need to get painting quickly and without having to faff around for hours trying to find the right paints.

And now I'll end. So until next time,

(Whatever it is that rats have that means WAAAAAGH!)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Batch-painting Empire soldiery: it’s inherently Buddhist.

The Buddha said that all life is suffering, and let me tell you, one thing about painting a [CENSORED] Empire army is that [EVEN MORE CENSORED].

No, I love ’em really. I’m doing a thirty-stage paint scheme for six-point models, so I must do. Either that or I’m a masochist.*

Some may wonder: why am I painting a new Empire army, when I already have this one?

Two reasons. One: you can never have enough silly moustaches in your display cabinet. Two: because about three months ago, my friend John bounced up to me with the sort of childish glee that only a burly, six-foot Kung Fu teacher can, and asked if I’d team up with him to take part in GW Oxford’s doubles tournament on 7th February. Each entrant was allowed to use the contents of any one Warhammer Battalion box. I swear I spent at least three seconds contemplating the purchase of a battalion box with the attribute ‘not Empire’.

The Hochlanders in this battalion will form the basis of the army I’ll be painting up for the Beard Bunker’s campaign, but thanks to my deadline of February 7th, I need to paint the first 800 points rather sooner than everyone else.

With only a week and a half to go before the tournament, and having started two months ago, my plan was to have everything bar the knights done at this point. A fairly reasonable goal, I felt. Forty state troops. Two months. Very doable.

Now, because I’m the man, I have thus far produced fifteen state troops.

[Insert embarrassed cough here.] Yeah, this is going to be a busy week.

However, to prove that I’m not a total failure, I thought I’d include a picture of the newly painted handgunners on a pretty little movement tray.

The movement tray is just one of the pre-made ones GW sell, as opposed to a modular one. I’ve turned it around and filled in the bit that used to be the extra space at the back with sprue. Not only does this prevent them from sliding out of their tray when placed on hills (my Middenheim handgunners just look at me accusingly when I ask them to walk up hills, and then stage a lie-down protest), but it also means that there’s a bit of a scenic buffer between them and enemy units, so if and when they get charged, their handgun barrels aren’t going to get in the way of enemy models.

The rag-tag uniforms and well-maintained handguns were in no way inspired by Bernard Cornwell’s portrayal of a certain regiment of riflemen in the Napoleonic Wars.

Fortunately, the scheme also ties into Hochland nicely; its people are famed for the craftsmanship of their blackpowder weapons, despite it being a relatively rural province.

The length and colour of the sergeant’s hair also has nothing to do with a pugilistic Yorkshire-born officer of the 95th. Nothing whatsoever.

I sincerely hope I'll be posting soon, telling you all about the 700 points of Empire I painted in a week.

There may be other people (people called ‘Jen’, for instance) who’ll be thinking fat chance right about now, and not without precedent. Pff, whatever... it’ll be fiiiiiine....


*Those two options are so not mutually exclusive.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

First Nurgle Models!

Greetings fellow bunker dwellers, 'tis I, the Pirate Viking, with the first models of my "Insert cool campaign name here" Nurgle army.

The first thing that should strike you is that the armour looks a bit, um, ragged. This is for a reason, I want these guys in corroded armour and by attacking them with a dremel for a while I create texture for the Jeffrust to work with. The second thing might be the lack of a banner, shields or a couple of heads. The first element is just to make it easier to paint the standard bearer. The solid plastic banner is a big ol' slice of win but it is somewhat large and gets in the way of the brushwork. The same problem informs the leaving of the shields until later. The lack of heads is because I am eagerly awaiting a parcel from a Polish company by the name of Puppetswar. This will contain some suitably gribbly-wibbly heads to adorn five out of 14 models in each of the units. Should provide some icky character.

With the banner bearer being so sparse I figured you could get a look at the pitting on the armour. A great deal of additional texture will be provided by the Jeffrust painting (an example of which can be seen below)

 but the pitting will really raise the game to the level of "how the hell is that holding together?". The pitting was achieved by attacking the piece with a sharply pointed grinding tool in my (cheap knock-off) dremel. Vary the depths and put in some bigger holes. When finished give the piece a clean up with a craft knife to remove most of the extruded material.

This guy was a total kitbash. I had some plague monks to make some of the Ragged Crusade marauders. I figured that the gong would make a splendidly Nurgle musical instrument for the warrior unit. Simply glue it to a standard bearer arm, trim off the excess and add one of the standard tops to finish the job. Lopping off the weapon head and replacing it with the drumstick end from the Plague Monks polished off the model nicely. Looks properly grim, "Bring out yer dead!".

And to round off our look at my first minis we have the champion. This was more of a conversion than the musician. First I dry-fitted a bunch of the parts to be sure that I wasn't going to create an ill-fitting monstrosity. The scythe is from the Empire flagellants sprue (more marauders!) and was attached to the warrior champion arm with delicate application of plastic glue. The important thing in this kind of conversion is flat, 90 degree cuts on the joins. I have a nifty tool called The Chopper II (no, really) that makes this sort of thing a snap. <tangent> Might have to do a "what I use" featurette sometime...</tangent> With plastic models there is no need to pin any componants so long as you have a good join, a decent plastic glue and patience. Once the glue is dry the bond is solid as a rock. It is a much different story to join metal to plastic.

Well that is all, I leave you with this musing, how cool would this guy:

Image taken from Games Workshop for illustrative purposes

Look as an old school Nurgle Undead Champion? Maybe swop out the weapon head to give him a different profile. Can totally see him leading a unit of chosen. Until next time fellow Dwellers.


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Slightly Icky Backstory...

Greetings all, I have been musing about the units in my army and how they relate to one another. From this I have built the backstory of my Nurgle host. Essentially it breaks the army down into two parts, a cultist host and a classic Northern wastes warrior contingent. The (slightly icky) backstory is as follows:

There were two elements of the plague ridden army that choked the Old World that year, the worshippers of the Flylord and the elite followers of a Nurgle Warlord Gyles Pestilens. The Flylord was the many blessed former Sigmarite priest in Averland who saw the truth of Nurgle during an outbreak of the red pox. He had lost faith in Sigmar's power when first the Orc raiders had swept across the region and then the plague followed. He began to preach not the mercy of the hammer and the two-tailed comet but instead the acceptance of fate and the tolerance of the afflicted. His words and the passing of the plague from the region swayed the people and a plague cult began to grow. In reward for leading the population of his town into the worship of Nurgle he was favoured with mutation and a powerful persuasive presence manifesting as a literal - corroded - silver tongue. He has been leading a cult of the Plague God gathering worshippers and the services of a potent sorcerer with the gift of plague, Lothar Pneumophilus. His persuasive tongue grew the cult rapidly and in his ambition he started a crusade of his followers north hoping to gain access to the Chaos Wastes and find an altar of Nurgle to swear fealty to his god in person. Unfortunately for Pestis, the freezing cold of Kislev tore a swathe through his ragged crusaders and the difficulty with spreading Nurgle’s unholy touch in the cold environs weakened his power. It was in this frozen wasteland that the Ragged Crusade came upon the warband of Gyles Pestilens, former Bretonnian Duke now swollen and rank beyond recognition.

Gyles had been the Duke of Montfort, a powerful man and responsible for the borders with the Empire and the Wasteland. All was well until his eldest daughter succumbed to a painful wasting illness, at the funeral, as his wife wept at the coffin he noticed the start of stigmata upon her neck. To his horror more and more of his family and retainers fell to the contagion until he was almost alone amongst the cries and moans of the horribly afflicted. Desperation drove Gyles to rage and he marched to the chapel of the lady with his five closest knights and loudly denounced his goddess. The men attacked the chapel, destroying relics and shattering devotional windows. Wild with grief and fear the men revelled in their desecration, smearing their excrement and blood upon the walls and defiling the pool of the lady with their fluids. Eventually, weak from their exertions and the blood that they had drawn they collapsed into a fitful sleep. Amongst the filth and defilement Gyles’ dreaming mind was visited by a spoor of Nurgle’s unholy will. It promised salvation in exchange for service and sacrifice.

In the morning the knights barred the chapel door and declared it the personal chapel of the Duke and his inner circle. They held a watch upon the portal and refused entry to all. Only when the Duke came to worship bearing relic chests and offerings did the six men withdraw within the chapel. The fevers broke and promised salvation was achieved. For a long time no-one thought anything odd, the Lady had answered the Duke’s prayers and the disease had passed as all pandemics do. However, the private worship still continued. Disappearances of serving staff and men at arms increased. Rats infested the dukedom and mild agues and colds became commonplace. Gyles became distant from all but his inner circle and ever looked drawn and pale. Eventually a curious squire climbed to one of the shuttered windows of the chapel and prised one open a crack. His scream and subsequent fall, vomiting and fouling himself, to the courtyard brought the populace out and finally up in arms. They battered the door to the chapel until it burst and finally the truth of the dukedom was revealed.

Within was a scene of incomparable horror. Excrement and filth caked the walls, distressing runes carved into its smeared surface. Decomposing human eyeballs were embedded within the mess and crude faces drawn around them. To the distress of the watching villagers the faces animated and chuckled as their rotting eyes turned to regard the interlopers. Clad in their panoply of war, the Duke and his Knights stood around the stagnant, stinking pool that was once the holy water of the lady. This pool was now an ungodly stew pot with the dismembered remains of the missing servants and men at arms floating and rotting within. Most damming of all, two of the men held the arms of the Duke’s youngest son and suspended him, screaming over the pool as his father unwound his viscera on a rusting hook and added it to the foul broth.

Fury overwhelmed the people and they fell upon their former master with their bare hands. Sadly, there was no way for unarmed peasants to prevail against fully armoured knights and the Duke and his men cut a swathe through his former people. A fell light was upon them and the slaughter seemed to energise rather than exhaust the knights. Eventually they fought their way to the stables and took to their steeds. The six men turned their backs on Montfort and rode North through the wasteland. Their path was typical of new forged followers of chaos and before long through proving their strength at arms Gyles, now the self-styled Duke of Morbidity, had a small war band following him. His knights and their steeds warped and changed with each victory until they were barely recognisable as their former selves. Now deep within the wastes Gyles happened upon one of the disgusting offal strewn altars to Nurgle and pledged his soul and sword eternally to the god of plague.

Gyles rode south with his warriors but Nurgle’s gaze was now fixed upon him and through the blessing of his attention Gyles changed. His flesh swelled and overflowed over his warped plate. He grew corpulent beyond belief and soon shattered his steed’s spine under his terrible weight. His followers built for him a palanquin to ride upon and henceforth Gyles travelled in rotting splendour. His arm’s lost their dexterity and took on a monstrous strength. Forsaking his ancestral blade he took to using a mighty axe taken from a defeated champion. That champion now brain damaged and simple from his injuries carried Gyles’ personal standard. It was in this march south that The Duke of Morbidity met the Flylord.

Parlaying under truce the Flylord realised that his power meant nothing in comparison to the might of the Duke’s men. His persuasive power and ragged band of mortals would be destroyed utterly within the wastes if these men were typical of its inhabitants. Instead he resolved to seek Nurgle’s continued blessing the way he had always received it. The Flylord declared himself a priest of Nurgle and persuaded the Duke to permit his followers to march with him south. Convinced that the Grandfather himself had guided the Flylord’s followers to him Gyles agreed. Together they turned their attention southward and marched on an unsuspecting world.

The pair realised that the surface world held many mortal dangers between their current course and the rich prizes to be had within the verdant lands of the Empire. Both sought a way to circumvent this danger and deliver their blessed mission to the heart of the human world. In visions Nurgle guided them to the disguised entrance to the Skaven Underway and the army marched within. Soon they were challenged by the Skaven guardians of the Underway. The Flylord’s tarnished silver tongue came into its own again and he persuaded the warlord that they were emissaries of the Horned Rat in his guise as the Lord of all Plagues. This was enthusiastically accepted by the local priests of Clan Pestilens and it was therefore politically expedient for the warlord to grant them passage. The plague monks had fallen under the spell of the Flylord and showered the Duke of Morbidity with gifts including their very name. The newly titled Gyles Pestilens, Duke of Morbidity presented one of their gifts – a blind, hobbled stegadon captured by the Plague Monks in Lustria and originally intended as a present for Clan Moulder – to the Flylord in recognition of his efforts. The Flylord converted the beast into a walking devotional altar of Nurgle and continued the worship of the Grandfather in the style of the Duke. The Flylord’s plague cart was claimed by his followers and continues to rumble in their midst. So armed and permitted, the Pestilent Host marched beneath the bones of the world upon an unsuspecting people…

So there you go, kinda ties mine and Lucy's armies together thematically, gives me a nifty conversion idea for the Marauder horde unit and introduces the premise and character of the major players. Oh, what was the nifty idea for a marauder horde? Essentially make the Ragged Crusade. A mix of Flagellants, Battle Pilgrims, Beastmen and Plague Monks to create a truly eclectic unit. At the centre of the unit a converted Vampire Counts Corpse Cart being the focus of their motley group. Essentially it will take the place of 8 figures in the ranks of the unit and will therefore be modelled with at least eight figures on the base so as not to be confusing. I'm figuring, the Necromancer with the long corpse-pole will work for one, have 4-5 crusaders pulling the cart (mix of flagellents, plague monks and a beastman or so) and a couple of guys helping turn the wheels through the snowy mud. Cool huh?

I should have my first WIP post up on Chaos stuff as I have been attacking 5 chaos warrior models with a dremel to give them a pitted, corroded aspect to their armour.


Monday, 9 January 2012

How I avoid hobby burnout

Many hobbyists imagine creating an army this big...

...and end up creating this instead:

If you just had a twinge of recognition, I feel your pain. Or rather, twenty-one unpainted Dark Eldar models and three discarded Tyranid Warriors (amongst many others) feel your pain.

New projects: they're great, unless you have too many of them. I can get excited about many many things, if I let myself get carried away. I’ll have what some call ‘Hobby Butterfly’ syndrome, and develop Sprue Blindness (when you have so many unassembled models populating your house that you can no longer decide where to begin). Clearly, this is unacceptable. There must be control. CONTROL!

Control is good, unless you assert too much of it. I can do an amazing job of making solemn promises of army monogamy. Quoth the army selection techpriest, “Do you, Charlie, take this Space Marine army to be your rules-compliant list? To have and to hold, ‘till death do it sunder on turn three or thereabouts?”

“I do.”

There’ll be a honeymoon. I’ll stare enthusiastically at the little blighters just long enough to get one squad painted up, when some other project, winking at me alluringly and promising untold excitement begins to tempt me away. “No!” I say, with desperate fervour. “I’m saving all my love for that there Space Marine army.” That’s fine if it works, but if I’ve now lost the buzz for the Space Marines whilst successfully clinging on to my hobby monogamy, I’ll simply stop doing anything hobby related at all. For shame, for shame! [By the way, try saying ‘hobby monogamy’ out loud, it’s great.]

What does all this mean? It means, give yourself some limits in the number and ambitiousness of your projects, but not to the point where things stop being fun. Obviously, it’s a limit which will be different for everyone. For me, I find I’m usually quite happy with two concurrent army projects and one scenery project. That way, at any one time, I’ve got three things to do. If one of them starts to feel like an obligation, then I’ll stop, because the hobby is meant to be fun! Instead, I’ll work on one of the other two projects, which will now taste that much better for having the sweet, sweet tang of procrastination... and polygamy.


Friday, 6 January 2012

Throwing shapes in the church of words...

When Jeff first suggested a long term project based around the idea of building an army over a year then playing a healthy 7 day long campaign my mind was lit up with ideas and possibilities. However, the organized part of my brain took over and I was full of questions. Which system? What points value are we aiming at? What stage in the time line? What is the narrative? Is there any way of including lots of tanks? After a series of emails going between us we came at the conclusion that Warhammer Fantasy is where it’s at. 2000pts is a good solid army size, you can have some epic games at 2k but it isn’t too large that the fatigue sets in. After all this was decided it was fairly late in the day and my head was full of ideas and schemes and plots and tea. That night I couldn’t sleep, my mind was too full of ideas. However, the one central theme to these was that I didn’t actually know what I wanted to do. I had recently started on the Island of Blood Skaven, partly as a way to introduce Emma into the hobby and partly because I really liked the models. So my I rested my thoughts on expanding the Skaven to 2k, but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I continued the exercise with different races in the range. Letting my brain toy with the models, the feel and the possibilities of each one. Each one just not causing anything more than a slight tingle. There was a Empire Steam Tank army that has a slightly bigger tingle but not big enough. Then I had a think through the Vampire Counts…

… and a bit more of a think…

… and a little more thinking happened…

Three hours later I had my back story. Well the beginnings of one anyway but the Vampires had captured my imagination. This was a surprise, mostly because I’ve only really done ‘good’ guys before (Empire, Bretonnians and High Elves) but the image of rank upon rank of the ice cold grins of skeletons being led on a relentless march across the withering fields of terrified peasants by a merciless and all powerful Vampire and his soulless lieutenants really took me.

So I had decided on which army I wanted to do and had the story in my head.

The story begins with two brothers, both Bretonnian Knights, Philippe and Etienne De Crecy. Philippe is the older brother and is a full knight of the realm. He was an arrogant and proud man. The common folk were beneath his notice and his singular purpose was his own gain. He fought for his own glory, his political machinations where all geared towards making himself and his family more powerful within the realm. Etienne couldn’t have been more different. Etienne was in touch with the people under his father’s rule and was popular. He made friends with everyone, not just those who could advance his standing like his brother would. Etienne was still a Knight Errant and had yet to properly prove himself but was devoted to the Lady and to his family. He got his chance when Philippe asked him to join him in a quest to slay a Necromancer by the name of Olak Kochmann who had been deemed responsible for the disappearance of several serfs.

The brothers rode out to where he had been last reported. On arriving they could find no trace, but a local famer told them that he had headed toward the boarder of the Empire. The brothers followed Kochmann deep into the Empire. They finally pinned him down him an old manor house on the outskirts of a village. Etienne suggested that they rested up for the night before confronting the Necromancer, just so they where best prepared for the encounter. Philippe reluctantly agreed, he was not one to take orders from anyone, especially from his younger brother.

As Etienne slept, Philippe slipped out of the coach house and rode out to the manor house. He broke through the door to find the house seemingly empty. Sword in hand he checked every room. Finally he crept his way into the attic to find Kochmann sat in a simple chair facing the door. As Philippe prepared to charge Kochmann spoke. ‘ I know what you crave, you want power Philippe. I can give it to you, for a very simple price.’

Philippe stopped.

‘I thought that would get your attention. Now, I can give you power beyond anything you can imagine, as well as eternal life’.

Philippe put his sword away and walked over to Olak. He knelt down in front of him and whispered ‘How?’

‘By letting me live and by opening the coffin in the cellar of this building.’

Etienne woke to find his brother missing. Angry he threw on his armour and rode hard out to the manor. He knew Philippe had ridden on ahead so he could Kill Kochmann and gain the glory for it and keep him from becoming a full knight just like him. Etienne found the door to the manor hanging from the hinges after Philippe’s entrance. He heard voices from the cellar and rushed down the stone steps to find his brother, out of his armour laying at the feet of a vampire and Kochmann standing at the side of the vampire. Etienne heartbroken and maddened charged forward and in his rage cut down Kochmann where he stood and threw himself at the vampire. The vampire dodged and parried Etienne’s wild swings but couldn’t get clear when Etienne body tackled him to the ground and for all of his strength couldn’t fend off the wild stabbing of the now frenzied youth. Etienne’s dagger connected with the vampires chest and neck over and over again. He pulled himself up and severed the head of the vampire from his shoulders and flung it across the vaulted room. Etienne turned to his brother, he knew he would have to kill his brother to stop him turning. He raised his sword, ready to plunge it down into his brother's heart just as Philippe stirred from his sleep. Etienne hesitated, he couldn’t bring himself to plunge his sword into his brother. Philippe looked up, ‘Brother!’ he croaked, ‘join me’ and leapt up and grabbed Etienne before he had any chance of reacting. Philippe had sunk his teeth into his brother's neck before Etienne’s sword hit the ground.

The brothers took over the manor house, making it their own. Philippe kept his pretentions of being a noble knight and began to work the surrounding villages and built himself up as the lord of the region. However, Etienne didn't embrace his newly found power in the same way and became increasingly bitter and hateful toward the world. Philippe began to manipulate his brother’s anger into something useful for himself. He used Etienne as his sword arm and lieutenant, sending him out when someone needed to be physically intimidated or killed, whereas Philippe styled himself as the knight and the politician.

So now I'm set with the main characters of my army. Next step is to work out what units I'm going to include and what the colour scheme will be (HINT: It wont be red!). This however, is a story for another time. Mostly because as Jeff hinted at in his earlier post there seems to be a new vampire book on the way so I'll be waiting for that before getting stuck into the army list details.


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Selecting an army, the Jeff way

Once we had decided on Warhammer as our campaign I had to select an army. I always go about this the same way. First, I grab a list of all the armies to remind me of all my options:
I then go through and eliminate all the options that I have either done recently or am simply not excited by:
Now each army needs to be thought about in more detail. I have a look through the model range, imagine colour schemes and see which ones light my fire mentally. With that done the list looks more like this:
I was left with a choice of Vampire Counts, Daemons or Warriors of Chaos. I eliminated Vampires early on as the idea of the campaign for me was that it was going to be a wholly new army. I had already started painting my vamps and had put them aside to wait for the rumoured new book (now confirmed of course). I was therefore left with Daemons or Warriors. I love the idea of Daemons, have even thought of doing the 40k crossover idea using some Litko round base movement trays to facilitate the project. The Warriors though were calling me, I had done a Slaanesh themed army about eight years ago and had some ideas I had not yet used.

The next phase in selection for me is to take a look at the army list for the choices. Notice that this is the first time I have mentioned rules at all. The look and feel of an army is all important for me. I will struggle to paint an army if the models do not excite me regardless of how nifty their rules are. While I was reading the Warriors list I kept on looking at the Nurgle stuff, something about it was calling to me. My choice was made. I then embarked on writing a list for the army and musing on model selection as I went. This is the result:

I knew I wanted Knights, I knew I wanted a Palanquin mounted lord and I had had a mad idea for a warshrine mounted on a Stegadon. With those choices taken care of I needed to round out the army. A couple of units of warriors 14 strong to fit a character and be 3x5 was a decent start. Knowing that the magic of Nurgle is hideous I threw in a sorcerer (with a potion of strength as a nasty surprise for challenging characters). I was starting to realise that I would have precious few units in the army so any of them running would be a disaster. With this in mind I added a Hero with a Battle Standard to keep the army together when the going gets rough. I was musing about adding another unit of warriors but the look of the army in my head was starting to appear monotonous. Plus there wasn't any real "soak" unit that I could throw at something to keep it busy. To fill this role I decided on the awesome visual appeal and savage combat chops of an entire horde of Marauders. 50 of these guys makes a horrible challenge. With three out of the five ranks capable of fighting in combat that is a potential 31 attacks just from the regular guys and the champion. Given that the mark of Nurgle drops your opponants WS by 1 they are likely to be hitting on three's as well. Armed with hand weapon and shield means that they have that parry ward save and look the business too.

Something I tend to do is take an army list on to the next level to see what I can do to expand the army in the case of rampant enthusiasm. I figured that using the lances from the knights (seriously, does anyone take lances?) as halberds would look great so some Chosen were thrown in, I liked the idea of making a snail chariot so that was in too. Finally there was space for one more unit of Warriors and that was it! I often find that the difference between a 2000 point army and a 3000 point one is not an awful lot of models. Finally I start to plan the order of painting for the army. This begins by making a 1000 point list out of the 2000 point army as follows:

Make sure you only use models from the 2k list. You don't want to have to buy more models just to make a smaller army. I can now see that the priority paint jobs are warriors, knights and a sorcerer. This means that I can restrain myself from the parts of the army that are really exciting me (palanquin, marauder horde, warshrine) until the workaday parts of the army are finished. As though Warriors and Knights of Chaos can be called "workaday"... While I was writing the lists I was musing as to the story line of the army, that helps to inform painting choices but will have to be a story for another time.


Nerd transmogrification 7% complete...

As the newest recruit to war gaming by a long shot I fear all I can offer this blog is my somewhat bewildered observations of an unfamiliar and mystifying world. My knowledge of Warhammer races and the realm in which they live is somewhere between scanty and non-existent. I do love fantasy in general however (Tolkien, George RR Martin, Robin Hobb etc) and I inherited the model railway gene from my Grandad so the leap into miniature armies full of orcs, dragons and elves shouldn't strain too many muscles.

The sum of my Warhammer experience so far is a handful of trial games against seasoned generals who at first went 'soft' on me. Then they started to play properly (darn) and jolted me into an uncomfortable realisation that if I want my ponies to live, (and I do, I really do), I might actually have to pay attention and not rely solely on lucky dice rolls.

Splitting an Island of Blood set as a first purchase seemed an economical choice - the High Elves were shiny and my boyfriend Maisey was keen on starting a Skaven army. I had very nearly completed the first unit of Swordmasters when... BAM, something deliciously dirty caught my eye; the Warriors of Chaos. My pony lust is no secret to the other Beard Bunker guys so you can imagine my joy at finding mounted core units. The 'Willow-esque' Warhounds also won me over as did the impressive strength of even the basic models (i.e. I can avoid the tedium of painting hordes and hordes of cannon fodder!)

At this point I was unaware of the narrative being eloquently constructed by Jeff and Charlie so I am hoping they can spin my smelly brutes into the yarn in a credible way. I started reading up on Chaos gods and Tzeentch stood out as a likely candidate. The down side of having no clue how to pronounce this particular deity was soon cancelled out by the +1 ward save under his mark. Oh and the fancy blue colour scheme possibilities.

After reading that the Warriors of Chaos hail from ‘oop north’ I began visualising my marauders as grungy wildlings on stocky Icelandic or Fjord ponies. The Chaos Knights are by far and away my favourite models. I am determined to pimp them out like tanks so they do not suffer the same fate as my Ellyrian Reavers. (I merrily cantered them towards two enormous rat ogres…I know, schoolgirl error).

Next step? To the Warhammer oracle! (aka Maisey) armed with a want list so he can tell me what I can and can't have in a conversation reminiscent of childhood trips to ToysRus...

Emma 'I can has dragon?' Maisey 'No Emma you can't have a 570 point dragon in a 2k army'.

Emma 'Aww...I can has giant?' Maisey 'Yes you can have a giant'. Emma 'Yay! I shall call him Lilliput'.

Of course this did not stop me from ordering an ice dragon 10 minutes later on ebay :P He can sit next to me and look scary, even if I can't unleash him. Yet. Tomorrow I am off to the Oxford Games Workshop to buy my first unit of PONIES! What's that Maisey? I have to be sensible and buy a box of plain old warriors first and figure out colour schemes? Bah.

The Grand Idea

This blog has been simmering away in our minds for a few months now. All it needed to bring it into the light was one unifying idea that would allow us all to focus our efforts. A couple of weeks ago that idea surfaced. Early in 2013 we are all going to take the same week off work, we are going to camp out at the house of beard and have a campaign week. Yes, you heard me, not a campaign weekend, a whole WEEK. Friday night to the next Sunday night filled with themed campaign joy.

As a result we are all going to produce a 2000 point themed Warhammer army to showcase our style of gaming. That means every unit and character named, backstory written to give character to the army and to inform conversions and imagery, every model fully painted and based. We will make themed scenery to complement our armies and if there is time even build baggage trains for the armies to allow for convoy raids and skirmish gaming. As if that isn't enough we are going to share every stage of the project with you all here at the Beard Bunker. We'll take you through how we choose armies, how we design colour schemes, we'll introduce the backstory, demonstrate how we develop campaigns, show the process for some of our conversions and painting and above all... Have fun. So that is 2012 sorted as far as Warhammer fantasy hobby goes!

Doubtless there will be other stuff that will randomly appear as we are mercurial beings, prone to shiny thing syndrome. [Note, shiny thing syndrome is a disorder classified as going off at a mad hobby tangent because something shiny and new has been waved at you] That is why we are giving ourselves a whole year to make these armies as distraction will inform deadlines!

We hope that you enjoy taking this journey with us and encourage comments and suggestions. Heck, join in yourselves and play along at home! The first posts covering selection of armies and choosing lists should be appearing in the next few days. Personally I feel the foetid call of Grandfather Nurgle... time to break out the penicillin I think...


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A hobby introduction

Greetings to all of you lovely people out there. I thought I would put together a little gallery of some of the previous painting from this merry band. Now I don't have examples of everyone's work - something I intend to correct rapidly! - so consider this a kind of part one. All of these images (as you'll see from the watermark) were featured first on Pirate Viking Painting under the Friends of PVP tag but I felt that they deserved to be here too! Enjoy!