Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Review: Army Painter vs. Citadel spray primer

Wow, this has to be the most exciting post ever placed upon the Beard Bunker. A review of spray paints? Ermagahd. Youtube and its legions of kittens have nothing on me. Nothing.

Dem nozzles

My foray into Army Painter’s primer sprays was brought about by the desire to pay less money than GW are currently asking for their primer spray. I find it hard to believe that the cost of manufacture has increased 50% in the last four years, but their price tag has. </bitter sarcasm>

Dem cans

Army painter spray: plus points
It’s cheaper, and they do a wider range of colours than Citadel.

Army painter spray: the drawbacks
The black is glossy. Not seriously glossy, but glossier than satin varnish. This means paint doesn’t stick to it very well. The process of drybrushing was actually rubbing paint off the model. This is a problem for a primer.

The green, while less glossy, had an inconsistent texture. Andy of Iron Legion fame is using their yellow spray for his 'nids, and whilst he’s happy with the results he’s getting, apparently the yellow spray can be a little runny. But hang on... runny? That’s a thing that spray paint can be?

Citadel spray: plus points
It works.

Citadel spray: the drawbacks
It costs more.

Draw whatever conclusions you want from that. Suffice to say I’ll carry on with Citadel until someone tells me about something of equal quality but superior value.

So anyway, once I settled on the Citadel green spray, I gave it a go on a tester model for the Imperial Guard army I’m sortof slowly starting:

The armour and gun casing are literally just Caliban Green spray with some silver weathering, whilst the fatigues are easier to paint off a green base than black, funnily enough. other news, a regular gaming night has started to take place in the Beard Bunker, with the attendant influx of new participants in the campaign. The Skaven in the image below were recently driven out of the Middle Mountains by the Stormbournes, and attempted to plunder Koerin in search of food.

Since Cara Thiele was in my army, I figured she wasn’t going to muck about when defending her hometown. At least, that’s my excuse for riding rough-shod over Andy’s army, which was rather unsporting of me given that he’s new to Fantasy. Next time I’ll take him on with Skazzwuzzle’s lot – that way, no matter how hard I try, Andy should get to savour the sweet, sweet taste of victory, and I’ll laugh my ass off for a few hours.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Golden Orc-petunity

Hi peeps! As with all things like this, an introduction is a good place to start. I am Lucy, otherwise known as Mrs PVP (Jeff's missus). I have been around the hobby for as long as I've known Jeff (a scary 17 years) and up until recently I've never really jumped in with both feet. I'd always enjoyed painting the odd figure more than the actual gaming. Having been around the Beard Bunker boys (and now girls!) for almost 7 years I've been gradually pulled into the gaming side of the hobby and it is time for First Army; So here come the Boyz!

So, why Orcs? I don't know what exactly drew me to Orcs in the first place, maybe the squigs? Maybe the background? Or perhaps it was just the mad amount of fun and unpredictability that surround the Orc armies. You never know what your boyz are going to do from one turn to the next, an excellent excuse for defeat for a novice general... Plus, they tend to just look AWESOME en masse.

This was the first (and indeed only) unit I painted, some time ago, when I was first trying to build an army. I hadn't quite sparked my interest for playing at this point so the army didn't progress any further. I've no idea how I painted them or what colours I used I'm afraid as it was a while ago and it was the old paints anyway (some might have even been the paints before last!). I'm working on another unit now and I'll be able to tell people how I do it then! It'll be interesting to compare finished colours between oooold paints and the new ones. One of the things I can talk about is banners. I think I'd finished the units banner before any of the actual models! I love the imagery of the Orc Glyphs, I have an interest in tribal symbols and pictograms so the wonderfully colourful and basic patterns of the Orcs are great to paint. This banner was done freehand from a sketched design on paper first, I've got a background in illustration so this sort of thing is fun for me. Of course, you might have noticed a really surly bloke in the middle of the unit. Time to introduce:

Zogfang Goldeneye! I have been in love with this model ever since I saw it on the Game Day promotional material, I had to have him! He's just all attitude, the pose, the look on his face, everything about him just oozes confidence with a lot of Badassery on top. He is the general of my army, a Black Orc with an astounding lucky streak. He took a handgun bullet to the face that tore out his right eye. The model has a scar extending under the eyepatch across the top of his head. To replace it he found the first eyeball shaped trinket he could find. This turned out to be the arcane focus of a Celestial wizard that he'd just finished killing. Since then, Zogfang has always been able to see that little bit into the future. We're counting it as the Gold Sigil Sword (Initiative 10) and giving him a lucky streak in his backstory. I'll write more about this story and his intentions another time.

Zogfang isn't alone in his wanderings, he has his faithfull core of trusted Black Orcs (unpainted, more of those later!). Zogfang doesn't really trust anything paler than a Black Orc, only a very special few of the greenskinned Orcs make it into his inner circle. One of these is a tiny shambling shaman. Wurrlag Boneseeker. This is another one of the models that I really like and I loved painting him. The models that I have seen in other places have had him in very dark robes, I just don't think black suits him. Black would suggest he had access to good material, I saw him more in tattered, worn, leather robes and the occasional flash of colour that he could steal from battlefields. Also in other paint schemes, I have seen the bone staff as pure white with a small bit of tan colour for shading. Only bones that are left out in Death Valley and Arizona and places like that are pure, sun-bleached white. Bones that have been in the ground or in the air go pitted and dark brown (Jeffnote: Lucy trained as an Archaeological Illustrator and has handled many bones and bone objects. She assures me, she knows what she is talking about).

Wurrlag's main job is predicting the future for Zogfang, he seems to genuinely hear the voices of Gork and Mork and interprets their messages through the casting of bones. The Boneseeker comes from his tendency to acquire new bones from worthy, powerful or interesting foes. His staff is actually a giant's femur (we measured it against the kit!) and he blends the bones together as needed "ooh, need to know the weather, where's that shadow wizard rib I got...". Again, more on his story another time. I'll do an introduction to the army and what the hell it's doing in Hochland soon.

I'm still getting re-acquainted with unit painting (I'm a single figure painter at heart), I have a wyvern I really want to paint and mean ol' Jeff is using it as a carrot to get me to paint my first 1000 points of troops. He's put it on a really high shelf (Jeffnote: Lucy is really small...) so I had better get to it! I'll keep you updated with progress. Many thanks for reading.


Jeff Note:

Lucy is in a really weird position. She's very much a beginner in the hobby, but one with a decent amount of artistic talent and almost two decades of hobby lore rattling in her head courtesy of my obsessions. She's surrounded by players who've been at this a long time, who have ridiculous sized armies and who understand the terminology and rules as though born to them (she didn't get to see our own bewildered beginnings). As a result she can get properly frustrated at percieved lack of progress because she forgets what a frankly epic achievement painting your first 1k of warhammer army is. I'm trying to help her get over problems without drowning her in info she just doesn't need yet. It's a big thing for experianced players to figure how to help newer ones. We tend to want to vault over all that tedious (to us) baby steps and into the THIS IS COOL stuff. We can't, we've got to help and support so that overwhelmed quitting isn't the outcome. Here's hoping I succeed!


Saturday, 8 February 2014

Blood, Sweat and Flab...

Hello everyone!

Last time I posted Jeff and I were sharing what we have done in the past and I briefly mentioned that I was looking at doing some Ogres. Why Ogres? Well, simply, I wanted something very different to my Vampires, and what can be more different to a horde of Zombies than a small band of huge, sweaty, violent Ogres. In true Beard Bunker style the first thing I set about doing was writing some back story. I wanted to set out the feel of the army before even thinking about getting the first models in. So without further ado, I give you the Readers Digest Condensed History of the Offlandz Protectorers!* 

*(for those of you not so interested in story there are some pretty pictures below if you wanted to skip down)

The Offlandz Protectorers were originally a nomadic tribe by the name of the Onefinger tribe, named after their digitally challenged leader, Nargutt. The Onefingers wandered into the Empire state of Ostland where they started making a nuisance of themselves, pillaging villagers, raping cattle etc. Baron Gustav von Wolder of Salkalten lacking the troops to fight off the ogres, needed a cunning way out. An advisor suggested that the put the ogres on the payroll and employ them as a standing force to deal with roving bands of marauders, beastmen and other ogres that had been plaguing the region. Baron von Wolder sent messengers to Nargutt Onefinger with an invite to open contract negotiations. Nargutt sensing an easy ride on the gravy train, agreed to meet. However, the negotiations didn’t go very far in Nargutt’s favour, mostly because of the careful wording from the Baron and his advisors, but partly down to Nargutt’ lack of digits prevented him counting higher than 6. This didn’t prevent an agreement being reached. The Onefingers would receive a annual payment in gold and a monthly tithe of foodstuffs from the town. With the contract signed and counter smeared by all parties, the Onefinger tribe setup camp outside the town.

As part of the deal the tribe received a stock of cloth in the state colours to make themselves uniforms to cement their allegiance to Salkalten and Ostland. Several years passed and the tribe grew fat and comfortable. The frequency of raids in the area kept them busy enough to slake their need to smash someone up but there was nothing taxing enough to make them look elsewhere and the supply of food and drink kept them lazy. These days of plenty where sadly numbered. The chaos invasion of the empire brought them to a close. Onefinger, bound by their contract to defend Salkanten had little choice but to dig in with the human garrison and weather the storm.

The little town avoided the main thrust of Archaon’s army and only faced outriders and small raiding parties. However the Onefingers held the town and the prevented huge amounts of damage that had been dealt to other towns and cities in the region. After the defeat of Archaon the scattering of his armies have kept the Onefingers busy. The Baron in gratitude declared them to be the Protectors of Ostland and promised a large bonus into their annual payment (he was unspecific to which one). The tribe took this new name to heart and started referring to themselves as the Offlandz Protectorers (most people ignoring the mis-pronunciation out of ‘politeness’).

So with that in mind I dived into the first unit. Being as I am I always hit up the core choices first. I can proudly present Yarg's Raging Bulls!

Yarg first rose to take over as the Crusher of the Bulls after he accidentally got involved in a Empire led mission to stop a necromancer from bringing back a potent Vampire. Yarg had gotten lost after chasing a Gor herd away from Salkalten. He was sitting down minding his own business when an Empire Captain approached him. Impressed by the shiny armour and very tall feathered helmet he (vaguely) remembered that he was under contract with the Empire and decided to be good and help out the Captain. He smashed a lot of green things. Then smashed a lot of dead things. The captain said that Yarg did good, which made him happy, even after he lost his favourite cow carcass, which had made him sad. 

After the battle Yarg felt he should return to his tribe and set off in search of them. On his return he asserted his new found confidence as the Captains favourite and thumped his way to dominance amongst the bulls. 
Flappy the standard holder
The units bellower, Colin

Next I'm planning on getting a unit of Leadbelchers painted up. Can't go wrong with a bit of self propelled artillery.

Until then, take it easy.


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Beardy Young Men

Hi folks, it's Jeff. In order to celebrate the first new dwarf models in ooh-gosh-ages and because my stunty excitement-o-meter is dinging at the top of the scale, I've been painting... yep, Dwarfs!

Recent events in the campaign have convinced me that I needed more heroes, especially a thane without a battle standard in hand to lead smaller armies. As I wanted to promote Dwalin to Runelord I also wanted a new Runesmith to take his place in the smaller actions. So here they are! I figured having two younger dwarfs - mere striplings, barely a century each - in the mix would make for some interesting roleplaying options too. A bit more devil-may-care optomism. So without further ado, lets meet them.

First up is Finbar Stormborne, Thane of Karak Hoch and son of Vindalf Stormborne (Hafnir's brother and army battle standard bearer). As the king's nephew he's been promoted as rapidly as decency allows and is now leading small expeditionary forces to prove himself worthy of his rank. I imagine he has to put up with rather a lot of "well, if you say so" from the older members of the hold.

The model for Finbar is one of those that always needed a 360 image to be impressive. From any one angle it kinda looks odd but when you can see the whole thing he's got a nice dynamic stride going. He's going THAT WAY and everyone needs to follow him. Like all one-piece castings (well, two, the hammer is separate) there are a few places where compromises have to be made but for the most part. A lovely figure. Painting wise, nothing much remarkable about either of these two. I'd made the conscious descision to make them as youthful as possible so no grey hair, pink skin. Otherwise, they're dwarfs! All beard and armour and cloak!

Berwyn Chamonbind is up next. In my "Jeff's Expanded Dwarf-fluff" Runesmiths take a new name on finishing their training, severing old family ties and serving the hold. Hence Gravenrune for Dwalin and in this case Chamonbind, Chamon being the magic wind of metal. I liked the idea of a runesmith wrestling this wind into weapons and armour and beating closed the runes that would allow it to escape. I think of this stuff, go with it. Berwyn was apprentice to Dwalin and has only just recieved his runestaff. It's why he looks so chuffed to be holding it. Berwyn will be taking on the day to day magical protection duties for Karak Hoch's armies while Dwalin focuses on studying the mysteries of the old hold and advising the king.

So, slightly big Dwarf-news finally confirmed today. WE GET NEW STUFF! [happy-stunty-dance] Owing to GW's new release schedule we won't be seeing the army book probably till the end of the month (boooo) but today we see some of the prettiest Dwarfs to leave HQ in many a year. I am already justifying the cost of replacing my current longbeards with the new ones. The plan is to send the current Ancient Mariner unit to Karak Timotai for a "youthening" - i.e. paint their beards anything but grey - and recast them as a regular warrior unit. The fancy models will be explained away by their being higher caste dwarf warriors. No difference in the rules. Just richer. Oh, and that new Slayer? He will be mine. That thing is gorgeous. I've already got a nifty Hasslefree sculpt as a hero level slayer, he's just going to have to be a lord I think...

I'm going to do an article when the book comes out about the process of reassessing an existing army in light of new rules and suchlike. It won't be one of those "waah, I've not played one game but I can already see that they've ruined everything" whinefests reviews that you see. Instead it'll be reassessing what the units I have will be used for now, recasting characters as all their wargear will have to be changed - but I'll be keeping the "feel" of each one - and plotting and scheming for the future. Until then