General

Missionary with Plasma Gun

One of my favourite miniatures of all time just got reprinted, the “Missionary with Plasma Gun”. This beauty was sculpted by Brian Nelson in around 1997/98 to accompany the first Sisters of Battle Codex. Although you wouldn’t have guessed it unless you were around back then (or unless you guessed from the colour scheme).

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I thought I’d put the miniature in perspective with other miniatures available at that time

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I’m being overly harsh of course, with any release there were highs and lows, this brought us some fantastic other miniatures like:

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The plastic moulding at GW hadn’t shown its full potential so you still had models like this in the second edition boxed set.

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I think this might be the very first example of a standard bearer type model with a sculpted standard rather than the stick that GW expected you to wrap in paperork_perso_ghaz_2

I like the way that the models isn’t crowded with detail and so things like the eyepatch, the chainsword slung on the back and the general gait of the figure showing how heavy that plasma gun is for a normal human to carry one handed really stand out.

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The whole “downtrodden look while holding extremely powerful weapons” reminds me of this guy

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Should we be worried about the Battle for Vedros?

No matter which way you slice it we are currently experiencing a pretty good time for wargaming so why should we be worried?
Not much has been made of the Battle for Vedros after its initial release, if you aren’t aware, Games Workshop has repackaged a number of kits including snap fit Space Marines and Orks and sold them to toy and game shops to cater to a 8-12 year old audience.
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It seems like a harmless venture, Workshop is trying to open up a new market using its existing IP and pre existing plastic moulds and selling them to toy shops who then sell onwards takes up virtually no resources and won’t disrupt the good work they are currently doing with large boxed games and releases.
It was probably an easy sell when it was presented at the board meeting as the toy market is a much larger pool of money to jump into than the miniature wargame market which GW has locked down pretty tightly over the years (this chart is pretty old but I suspect its still valid in showing the plateau that a big business in a small pool hits).
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This is where my problems come in, the toy market is in fact so much larger than the miniature wargaming market that Games Workshop could easily dive right in if they see significant success.
The money they make here will not see its way into the core business.
Ok, this is speculation on my point and if their staff see a massive pay bonus in the next year and hobby centers start to look like the amazing works of art they could easily become I will happily print this page out and eat it in penance but generally companies don’t let a plateauing part of their business eat up profits from a booming one.
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Where would this money go?
Workshop does invest some of that back into its stores but sadly around £15m of it goes into dividends on the shares held by their stakeholders. Only 60%+ of them are publicly disclosed and with the exception of Tom Kirby they are all investment companies.
Is the Battle for Vedros even a success?
Its going to be difficult to say until after Christmas but all Workshop has to do is sell the products to retail chains at Toy and Gaming convention to make a short term profit. If over 200 GAME stores are buying them for about $500 each thats $100,000+ or thanks to the way the UK economy works £100,000. If those stores go on to sell the products and come back for more then Games Workshop will have their runaway success.
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But I want to buy the Battle for Vedros for someone I know?
Remember that none of these kits are new, its all been available in Games Workshop stores for ages and those 400+ stores and the rest of the FLGS are the things that need to be protected because without them this hobby goes into a death spiral that it’s not going to pull out of.
Get a grip you fool you’re panicking, Games Workshop will never abandon its core business.
Probably not, but if you cast you mind back to the discontinuing of the original specialist games range or the rush to capitalise on the Lord of the Rings phenomenon they are certainly capable of grasping a money maker with both hands.
In conclusion it’s probably nothing to worry about for now but if the results of this experiment are good then it does bode ill for the future of company who can and will kill off perceived unprofitable lines.

Wargames Illustrated

The worlds premier tabletop gaming magazine is the tagline, I’ll be the judge of that. Not to be confused with the Women’s Institute, Wargames Illustrated is £4.95 ($8.95, €6.95) for 106 pages with 27 pages of adverts including one for a military history degree course from the university of Wolverhampton.

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After that i probably don’t need to mention that this is a heavy going historical wargaming magazine but the weird thing about it is that it only occasionally loses my interest, the only time in fact was when one of the writers started frothing about the exact equipment in use by German paratroopers during World War Two. Most of the time it is happy to use history as a great big story book with which to add flavour to wargames and explain enough if the story to the satisfaction of the reader while inviting them if interested to pursue greater knowledge elsewhere.
Much like Wargames Soldiers and Strategy it has a theme to stitch everything together, this months was military blunders in whichever shape and form they took.
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Further to the impression of the magazine as more of a history book than a miniature gamers mag there is an 8 page article on the historical use and equipment of German airborne troops as envisioned by the Warlord Games plastic set. It’s all very nice and acts as a supplement to the models rather than a review of the plastic kit.
The production quality continues to impress as the writers begins to try and feature historical blunders into their articles with contents that are half history book and half suggestion for extra rules to add into the games, every page has pictures of nicely painted and displayed miniatures to illustrated the multiple historical examples and and as the article on the 1896 battle between the Italians and Abyssinians points out you can take the suggested rules and layout and apply them to any period.
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There are wargames show reports which again have a lot of very nicely taken photos and do a pretty good job at summing up the events and capturing the best displays which are quite spectacular, it reminds me of going to a Games Day and seeing the giant Horus Heresy diagrama or The Siege of Antioch display with Brettonians vs Lizardmen.
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There is even an unusual article about how John Lambshead published a rulebooks about classical war galleys which is interesting if you ever fantasise about publishing your own set of Wargames rules published by Osprey (the premier historical rulebooks publisher).
All in all I quite liked it, I never felt it was a chore reading this for review and even though historical and sci if gamers typical turn their noses up at each other i would pick this up again for a long journey or holiday reading.
This is for someone who:
Likes history
Is a sucker for detail
Isn’t that bothered about hard and fast guidelines for gaming
Likes the idea of historical gaming
This is not for someone who:
Enjoys sci if or fantasy settings
Likely to turn their nose up reading about the lengths someone will got to ensure their model church has historically accurate gargoyles



Wargames Soldiers & Strategy

Continuing my magazine binge I picked up Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, from hereon known as WSAS, from my local WH Smiths for £4.50 it’s 82 pages of which only around 7 of which are adverts which is a refreshing change from the Games Workshop publications, not that third party miniature companies adverts are a particular eyesore.
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The unique selling point of this magazine is that each month it tries to base itself around a different theme, this month was creatures like aliens, zombies and other horror tropes. The general content of the magazine is based around miniatures reviews mixed in with various scenarios either historical settings or harnessing the overarching theme of horror. The review segments are mostly just statements of facts like prices and scales next to unpainted miniatures which is fair enough to avoid any painting bias, sadly the critical natural of them is lacking to avoid the hard job of stepping on the toes of a company who might be a future sponsor.
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The scenarios are a fine mix of various different periods all well illustrated with a few double page spreads of essays from people including Rick Prestley break up the content, added to this are half a dozen game reviews and a couple of historical non fiction reviews. The standout feature is the zombie viking scenario that shows how the player actually created the unique force used.
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Everything is competently done, but nothing stands out as excellent and after reading it once I felt like I didn’t need to go back and read again unless I was playing one of the scenarios mentioned. The theme while quite interesting to hold the magazine together, fails to mention the elephant in the room in that there are several very competently done board games that explore horror mechanics in a way that a simply porting a miniature skirmish game to a survival setting can’t. It also sadly tries to occupy the same space as the other historical wargames magazines, Wargames Illustrated and Miniature Wargames with Battlegames but doesn’t have enough of the historical perspective or some truly inspiring content to compete with either.
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This is for someone who wants:
  • Historical scenarios
  • A thorough review of the different historical miniature releases that month
  • The theme picked that month
This is not suitable for someone who wants:
  • Any of the more popular wargames
  • A more critical review of releases
  • A really hard look at the historical elements involved in the battles.



Initiative Magazine

When I heard about a new wargaming magazine 112 pages long for £1.30 ($1.71 or €1.54) in full colour I jumped on it. It’s from the same guys who already publish Figure Painter Magazine so they have a pedigree, the catch is that it’s online only and you have to download it from a link you get emailed to you after you order. Ultimately I can live with this as it means the magazine can be 3 to 4 times cheaper than a version that had to be printed out. We live in the computer age damnit, fire my toy soldier magazines to me via the intertubes.
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This issue is rammed with content, 4 unboxings, 3 painting tutorials, 3 game previews, interviews, event reports, terrain building and even a battle report to cap it off, it’s so jammed in you don’t even notice the almost complete absence of adverts. I don’t mind adverts in gaming magazines, except the ones in the historical magazine for their stairlifts and denture glue.
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Obviously adverts can take many forms and the previews are non critical although puff pieces on Kickstarters are a dangerous game to get into given the current fulfillment problems a lot of them get into.
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The weakest part is sadly the Bolt Action battle report at the end with unfinished scenery and unpainted miniatures taking up some of the shots, hopefully this gets improved on in later issues as it’s clear the writers are trying the same format as the old volume 1 White Dwarfs that a certain website reviews.
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Overall this a spectacular effort for a first issue, if they can keep up this level of content and polish off some of the rough edges I will be very happy, thought I would ask for it to be priced higher as I have no idea how they intend to pay their writers at this rate.
You can pick it up here.
This is for someone who:
  • Is on a budget
  • Likes their magazines instantly available
  • Wants a variety of content
This is not for someone who:
  • Demands the highest production quality
  • Likes the tactile feel of a magazine
  • Wants another historical wargames magazine



What I got at UKGE 2016

This is a quick catch up about everything I came home with when I went to the UKGE this year, if you want to read about why UKGE is such a great event or want to know about any particular item in more detail let me know in the comments section and i’ll write up an article on it, if you want a weekly email with my content subscribe here.

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In no particular order:

Space Marine Scouts and Tempestus Scions – For kitbashing and making better Deadzone miniatures with.

A box of Harlequin models and a Harlequin codex – From the bring and buy on Friday including a Death Jester, Solitaire and Shadowseer and 8 others for £30. Victims of an apparent nerf to Harlequins Kiss’s or something, they should make worthy challenges for my painting table.

Firestorm Armada Swordbreaker class Battleship – Picked up for £3 with the others on the Friday, I’ve seem some lovely painted examples of this online and feel like I should give it a go in preparation for Dropfleet Commander.

Army Painter sprays – Because they cost loads to post so getting them in person is best.

Pandemic Legacy – Apparently the best board game ever, this is a statement worth checking out.

Ice Cool – Voted best childrens game at UKGE, you basically flick a penguin through doors in a maze while another player tries to catch you, a mix of Subbuteo and tag, like all childrens games its best played by adults with alcohol.

Exploding Kittens first edition – This game makes a meowing noise when you open it, all games need this function.

Shadows over Esteren vol 1 – These guys have the most impressive lineups of products I’ve ever seen for a role playing game, they have multiple books, metal currency coins, resin miniatures, an album of in character music, a book of ghost stories and even a real recipe book for cooking your players actual real life food.

Tor Gaming Relics, Ridend starter set bundle – Voted my me as coolest miniatures in the show, they remind me of Labyrinth goblins wearing medieval armour.

Game Tee scented candles – For getting the background smell right at a gaming session, sadly the Elven one shares the same Jasmine scent as freshly cleaned urinals.

 

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