Monday 31 October 2011

Been Shoping - Some New Books

A couple of days ago I went shoping with the aim of buying some christmas presents, and what always happens when I do this happened again, as well as buying presents for others I also can back with some presents for myself, this time 3 books.

Firstly a book on tanks called 'Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles' by Robert Jackson.  I got this from the Works (a discount bookshop in the UK) for the princely sum of £2.99

The book is hardback and contains 93 full colour pages detailing tanks from the first world war upto the modern day.  I've been looking for something like this ever since I bought my first flames of war models as my knowlegde of WW2 tanks is pretty limited.  The book doesn't go into great detail, but it has a lot of pretty pictures and is ideal as an introduction to the subject, it was just what I was after at the price I wanted to pay.

Next we have 'Moses Pharaoh of Egypt: The Mystery of Akhenaten Resolved' by Ahmed Osman which I picked up very cheap in a charity 2nd hand bookshop.  I've spent most of the last couple of days reading it on and off and the theory it's proposing is really quite fascinating.  The book proposes that Akhenaten (the herectical pharoah who eschewed the old gods in favour of the worship of the one god, the Aten) wasn't killed when he fell from power but lead his followers out of egypt to establish the monotheistic faith that the most popular of the worlds current faiths are derived from, i.e. he was in fact Moses.  It's all very interesting, and he presents alot of evidence, to me a lot of it seems circumstanal, but I'm not a good enough egyptologist or biblical scholar to come down with a definate conclusion, it did convince me of a possible link between the worship of the Aten and the faith of the early Israelites however. 

And finally a Games Workshop Black Library publication 'Thanquols Doom' by CL Werner.  I've only just started reading it so can't give any meaningful thoughts as yet, but I like the rest of the Gotrek & Felix and Thanquol novels.  They're not the greatest works of literature I've ever read, but sometimes there is a place for a trashy fantasy adventure.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Dreadfleet - The Swordfysh and Volcano Island

Another ship done, this time the swordfysh for the Grand Alliance.  I like the ship a lot (even with the silly prow) and a lot more work went into this than any of the ships I'd done so far.  That was mainly down to the embossed sails I think, but they came up a treat and are a massive plus to the model.  The sharp grey highlights on the sails look a lot better in real life than in the piccy's for some reason.

As usual I've done another couple of bits of the terrain as well, the main one being volcano island, which features unsuprisingly a volcano.

The Curse of Zandri and the Heldenhammer are both on the painting table as I type this, but I'm already getting urges to go and paint other things, I am determined to finish dreadfleet though, but we will have to see how it goes.

Monday 24 October 2011

15mm Late War British Machine Gun Platoon

Today I'm featuring the latest addition my (still small) late war British flames of war army.  It's a machine gun platoon, the models are by forged in battle (they're a lot cheaper than the offical ones).  The machine gun platoon itself came with the 4 man packed machine gun teams, the command stand and optional piat team came from spares peices that came with the forged in battle infantry platoon I painted a few weeks ago.

The machine gun platoon 

Command section and piat gun team 

One of the machine gun teams

My 'army' so far

Thursday 20 October 2011

The Warpath Forge Father Sprue

Mantic have finally posted a pic of the forge father steel warriors sprue, and a squad of ten models painted.  Each sprue contains 2 forge fathers, and a selection of heads and weapons.  The bodies, two of the heads and the hammer are taken from the kings of war dwarfs in the same manner as the marauder sprues.  I'm not against the resuing of parts in principle, but what I don't like is that I think the finished models look naff.

The new models, judge for yourselves

It's such a shame, the concept art was brilliant, as are the heavy weapons dudes and the hero model.  I really hope someone else likes these models as I want Mantic to continue to grow, but I think any thoughts of a forge father army I had have gone out of the window, as much as I like the elite stuff I have no desire to paint the basic grunts that would have to form the core of the army.  Heres hoping the corporation turn out better.

What good forgefathers look like

Images copyright Mantic Games, used without permission.

Monday 17 October 2011

Dreadfleet - The Skabarus and Grimnirs Fury

I've finished another couple of the ships from Dreadfleet, the undead skaven ship the Skabarus and the dwarven ironclad Grimnirs Fury.  Very different ships design wise, but both interesting.

So here we have the skabarus, an undead leviathan (with clear design nods to the angler fish) crewed by skaven and decked out with warp lightning cannons that ignore armour, perfect for taking on....

The Dwarven Ironclad Grimnirs Fury, this is the best armoured ship in the game and launches cool (and useful) little airships.

I've been trying to paint the islands as I go as well rather than leave them all for the end, these are the latest additions.

Friday 14 October 2011

White Dwarf 382

I've had the latest White Dwarf magazine for a couple of weeks now, and having absorbed it I have to say I'm starting to see a definate improvement.  The largest chunk of the magazine is taken up with the coverage of the Dreadfleet release, which if your interested in dreadfleet is great (if you have no interest in dreadfleet half the mag will be of no use to you).  The dreadfleet coverage includes design notes, a painting guide, two battle reports and a basic tactica.  The design notes and tactica were interesting reading, and I've refered to the painting guide several times in painting my own ships.

There isn't much in the mag for the two main systems, but at least what there is is very useful.  For warhammer you have scrolls of binding for the new ogre kingdom beasties, allowing you to use them in storm of magic games.  I hope this is something they continue, it makes sense from a sales point of view as well, I'm very unlikely to buy an ogre army, but I might by a thundertusk.

The 40k content is 3 new battle missions designed for use with the sisters of battle codex that has been in the last couple of White Dwarfs.  I have the main battle missions book and am a big fan of it, it really mixes up the battles with a few simple adjustments.  So a whole mag mainly full of real content, who would belive it, I hope this trend continues.

A interesting peice of news also appeared yesterday, the new White Dwarf subscription model, and prehaps unsurprisingly it's Grombrindal as a pirate.  It's a rather spiffing model and I'm sure it will be added to my collection.  I'm quite tempted to use him as a captain for a Dwarf crew for Cutlass.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Airfix HMS Warspite

My latest finished project is an airfix model of the Queen Elizabeth class Battlesip HMS Warspite in 1:600 scale, this is the fifth WW2 Royal Navy ship I've built in this scale (see the others here).

HMS Warspite was a famous ship, serving in both world wars, and earning the most battle honours ever awarded to a British ship.  These battles included the famous battles of Jutland and Matapan.  She also held the record for the longest range hit on a moving target from a moving ship on an italian battleship at a range of a whoping 26,000 yards.

An enjoyable kit, seemed like less parts than the HMS Belfast that I did recently even though it's a bigger ship. There was a lot of flash,  but nothing that couldn't be dealt with easily.  As I always do with these kits I had problems with the little boats hanging over the side.

This picture ahows the relatove sizes of a few ships from my 'fleet' from top to bottom we have the light cruiser HMS Belfast, the Battleship HMS Warspite and the carrier HMS Ark Royal.

I remembered to take a few work in progress pics as I was building it this time:

I have an urge to do another battleship now and I'm torn between a HMS Nelson and a HMS (technically a battlecruiser I know, but close enough).

Sunday 9 October 2011

Dreadfleet - Gameplay Thoughts

Over this weekend I've got my first games of dreadfleet in, I played scenarios 1 & 2 on saturday night (slightly inebriated after a trip to a beer festival) and then scenarios 3 & 4 on sunday afternoon.

The core movement and shooting rules are fine and work pretty much as I would expect a fantasy naval game to work, nothing revolutionary here, but thats not nessacerily a bad thing.  A lot of the ships stats are very similar, but have special rules that make them play differently and give them character, so far so good.

There are two things you need a lot of to play this game, space and time.  The mat is 3.5' by 5', but with all the cards you need laid out there wasn't a lot of space left on my 8' by 4' table.  I have an 8' by 4' table so its no issue to me, but is something to be aware of.

The clutter, sorry game

And time, the small games we were playing still took a couple of hours to play, which is a lot more than I was expecting, a lot of that time is spent resolving the mutitude of cards that come into play.

The scenarios link together to tell a story, and there is a real narrative present here, its a nice refreshing change to just fighting random battles like I do a lot of the time, after 4 games I was really starting to get into the story.  The scenarios seem to be nicely varied as well, and there is definately a element of trying to 'solve' it.  After narrowly loosing scenario 4 (it all came down to one dice roll) I did see a tactical error I made on turn one and wanted to give it another shot.

Now we get to the flaw in the game, and its a biggy, the game is so ridiculously random.  At the start of every turn each side takes a fate card which tigger random events, usually hurting somebody.  Thats two powerful random events a turn.  The events are just too powerful and random, also the deck isn't big enough and after a few games the events stop seeming random and unexpected.  The fate deck also moves the wind around as well, again this means the wind moves twice a turn!  So forget forward planning with your sail ships (how I loved using the dwarf steam powered ship).  I think the wind movement is actually more annoying than the random blood sharks etc.  I'm considering giving it a go with no fate deck and saying the wind is always strength 2 and is assumed to be in the side arc of all ships (unrealistic I know but at least you could plan). The other deck of annoyance is the damage deck.  When you take damage random parts of the ship are damaged, this means yet again more luck, as you can take 3 hull cards and sink, or a crew, a hull and a random one and basically carry on the same as before, the damage taken and effect on ships should be more closely linked.  Scenario 4 was the biggest game we played, with 4 ships a side, and it all came down in the end to one initaive roll, and it did feel like a huge anti-climax.

The 'Hate' Deck

It looks pretty, but the randomness removes a lot of tactical play, I don't think its terrible, but you can't take it seriously.  The first couple of games I played were after an afternoon at the local beer festival, and it was great for that when I didn't want anything serious.  The next day when we used it for our sunday afternoon gaming it didn't suit so well and I wanted more (at least some) depth.  My mate summed it up perfectly when he said:

"This looks good but to be honest that battleship game [meaning victory at sea] we were playing last week was much better"

Its all a bit of a shame, I love the ship models and the core rules are fine, just why all the unnessacery randomness.

Contents:   8.5 out of 10
Gameplay: 4.5 out of 10

See my thoughts on the game contents here.
See an interesting alternative (more negative) view here.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Dreadfleet - The Shadewraith & The Black Kraken

I've painted the first few bits from GW's dreafleet.  Two ships from the dreadfleet itself and a couple of the island pieces.  I started with the two ships that I thought would be easiest to paint.  I've also decided to paint most of the ships similar to the way GW have, although possibly a tad more muted, but we will see.

The Shadewraith, a floating ghost ship, this was so easy to paint, I painted it white then covered it in a green wash, and that was it.  The inital plan was to rehighlight it white, but having washed it I don't think it was nessacery.

The Black Kraken, a mechanical submersible crewed by a chaos dwarf and powered by a bound deamon.

Skull Island and a rocky isle.  I've decided to paint all the shipwreck peices in the game in the same ghostly manner as the shadewraith.

The Shadewraith and the Black Kraken move through the Galleons Graveyard

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Dreadfleet Unboxing

Dreadfleet, the latest one off boxed game from games workshop has arrived and in my usual rambling way I'm going to share my thoughts on it.  I've not played it yet, this is a simple 'whats in the box'.  And its a big box stuffed full of stuff.  The box itself feels very sturdy and has some great arwork on the front, and handily along the sides are instructions for assembling the ships.  The ships are the core of this game of warhammer pirateness

The box

The ships are bigger than I expected, and are nice models mixing pirate sterotypes along with warhammer themes.  The game contains 10 big ships (5 for the 'good' pirates and 5 for the 'bad' pirates), each one very unique.   Overall I found it an easy kit to assemble, I have glued mine, but I think the push-fit method would work fine.  One thing of note is that each ship comes with a rather lovely moulded sea base.  I'm also pleased that GW have been brave enough to use the expanded warhammer world a bit and include an arabian and a chaos dwarf ship.  I really like these ships as models and am looking forward to painting them, I'm almost tempted to go out and buy another box so I can get two sets of the models, but am resisting so far.  I've been looking at the ships a lot over the last couple of days and the more I look the more I like them, I tried to work out my favorite and least favorite, but failed horribly, I just like them all.  There have been some poeple who have said they'd rather two coherent fleets rather than the indivualistic ships that we got, whilst I can understand this point of view I'm much happier with this as it allowed them to get far more ship archetypes into the game, and this set is almost certainly it, I'd be very suprised if any expansions ever appear.  Another great positive about these ships is that the detail on the sails is raised (I did wonder from the prome photos if it was free hand) which should look making the ships look great easy.

The contents

As well as the 10 big ships there are also 7 little ships, a dragon and an airship that are carried by the big ships, these are characterful little pieces and I like the dragon in particular.  There are also 3 sea monsters that the fate cards throw into the game, these work like the little ships in the game.  I'm particulary fond of the sea-giant rising up out of the ocean.

Some of the peices on the game mat

Also on the plastic sprues are a whole bunch of island and shipwreck models. These are all very warhammery and covered in skulls, this is all well and good, but I would have liked a couple that weren't covered in skulls that I could transplant into other naval games.  However in the context of this game they're absolutely fine.  They also give some sense of scale to proceedings and make you realise quite how big the warships are meant to be.
The game is played on the sea (obviously) but rather than just telling you to play on the table they provide a nice sea mat to play on.  Its a 5' by 3.5' cloth superbly detailed with waves and sea monsters.  Its a bit on the thin side, and has some creases in it from being folded in the box.  After the ships this is the next best thing in the box and definately could find use as a sea for other naval games.

Grimnirs Thunder and the Swordfysh

A lot of the game is driven by cards, which is a change for GW (they seem to prefer dice and charts).  The two biggest decks are for fate (random things that happen every turn) and damage, and there are also much bigger cards to represent the indivual warships.  The artwork is all very nice as you'd expect, but the cards feel thin and I do wonder how well they'll take to actually being used.  Unfortunately they're not standard card sized either so I won't be able to use deck pretectors on them.

The game comes with a sizeable 96 page rulebook, which is in full colour and is as pretty as you'd expect.  It's in landscape, which I find odd and am not overly keen on, and breaks down into roughly a third each on rules, background and scenarios.  The game comes with 12 sceanrios which is quite a lot.  The binding on my book at least is not good and it started coming apart on the first read, which is very disapointing.  What I'd liked to have seen would have been a portrait hardback book like the new army books coming out of GW.

The Heldenhammer and Bloody Reaver face off

And finally last of all you get plastic turn keys,a wind marker, treasure tokens, a measuring stick, a bag of little bags (to keep things in) and a bag of dice.  I'm a big fan of making this sort of thing is plastic, they last a lot longer and keep the angles better.  It's also nice they included 2 turnkeys, one for each player, I only have one for victory at sea and it gets annoying swapping it over all the time.  The measuring stick has a nice trick too of folding to 45 degrees to allow you to check arcs of fire.

In conclusion, great game contents wise, you get a lot for your money, I think its a shame they didn't go the whole hog on the book and cards even if this raised the price, the ships and mat however are fantastic.   This is going to be a massive painting project as well, I initally estimated a months worth of painting, I now recon  more than that  And the final word.... I'm properly chuffed with is at the moment and think it's worth every penny and I'm looking forward to playing it and painting it all up. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...