Thursday, 28 June 2012

Dwarves of Yore

Nobody else here plays Dwarf Fortress, do they? Didn't think so. There's no pressing reason to do so unless you really like free ridiculously complicated strategic simulations that automatically generate a complete and unique fantasy world for every player. I spent a bit of time with it a few years back and was fondly reminded of it recently by the news that a manual has recently been published (see for more info, plus links to hilarious comics).

It's the work of some dedicated nerd geniuses. On start up, if you let the program run for a while, it randomly generates the auto-computer-monkey equivalent of a Tolkein epic. If you let it run long enough, it can create  a detailed history of your new world over 1 gig in size, complete with epic duels between champions and demons, rise and fall of nations and empires, etc etc.

Mostly it's fun because it's nearly impossible, and if you can be bothered to learn the infamously difficult interfaces enough to control it, then it's hilarious fun. The game details the attempts of your group of seven dwarves as they attempt to start their own fortress in the wilds of the world. It's beyond ludicrous in its detail - dwarves have complex psychology and personalities, accurately simulated physiology, your town has illness, elections, realistic geology with aquifers and seasonal weather - but is nearly impossible to play. The interface uses ASCII graphics, so you can get an idea of how the game looks by animating an eighties telephone directory on a ZX Spectrum. Remember Granny's Garden? Well, like that but without the whistles and bells.

Magnets: Fun with Ferrites

This week I have been learning to harness the power of magnetism…

You think I look badass now. When I grow up, I’m going to be Gandalf.

My armies have tumbled off their movement trays so often I’m starting to suspect they enjoy chipping their paint and forcing me to get out my brushes and give them a little touch up.

In a bid to keep everyone where they should be, I have decided to TAP INTO THE POWER OF THE EARTH’S CORE (or possibly the North Pole, the Wikipedia article wasn’t very enlightening).

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Morgan’s Free Men

I can always find a use for cheap, expendable troops, and they don’t come much more disposable than the Free Company (which is a pity, as I really like the paint job on these, and under my aesthetic selection criteria, I’m more likely to use them that, for instance, my knights).

Empire free company
It's so embarrassing when you turn up in the same outfit.

The models are put together from the Mordheim sprue, which is still one of the best multi-part plastic kits I’ve used. There are so many options for weapons, heads and poses, and almost any arrangement makes the model look dynamic.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Spel Verkstad

Games Workshop: Göteborg

Turns out I now live about five minutes away from Goteborg's finest GW. My wife and I were wandering about the city centre on Midsommars Dag (yesterday) and somehow ended up in there.

True to form, as with all the locals, the guy behind the counter was a giant blond man with a healthy tan and muscular frame. I established I spoke more English than Swedish, and he asked if we knew anything about The Hobby. I said I did, V (as usual) rolled more eyes than dice, and our host launched into a kindly-meant explanation about how the games work in flawless English.

"They work like chess. Except that you buy and paint the models yourself," (demonstrated with a sprue of Mines of Moria characters with their arms not on yet), "we use a tape measure instead of squares to move closer to each other, and where in chess one piece jumps on another to take it," (demonstrated by hitting the top of a goblin with a hobbit), "we roll dice. Are you interested?"

I obviously am, although mostly in how that's anything like chess.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Movement Trays: Slap That Base

An army’s got move around… something The Wehrmacht should have considered in 1941 when looking at their invasion plans and trying to calculate the number of Little Chef restaurants on the road to Moscow.

My methods of getting warriors to the business end of the Battle Board has been an ongoing evolution:

1. Assemble a 20-strong regiment and give them a gentle push from behind.
(That lasted about one battle. I was an impressionable 13 year-old and White Dwarf never showed any trays in their battle report pictures. Let me tell you: turning corners was no fun.)

2. Cut up pieces of hardboard and balance them upon it.
(A long-standing and versatile solution that caused much plummeting of models when they were carried around.)
(All right, it was my Dad that did all the cutting.)

3. Purchase resin-moulded movement trays from Terrain Warehouse.
(This was before Games Workshop released their cheaper, plastic modular trays, but the resin ones are sturdier – which is good for metal armies. And already made to fit – which is good for the lazy hobbyist).

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Brass Band of Brothers

Caution is a useful instinct. My first decision with this paint job was to re-undercoat the lot with Chaos Black and work up silver detailing from there. Remembering that this is only the first unit of a very long clear-the-cupboards project, I dug out my pot of Devlan Mud to see what some of the old liquid talent could achieve first.

Ricco's Republican Guard
Perfection is just £2.30 away.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

From Guards to Greatswords

Do not be deceived. These warriors may resemble Ricco’s Republican Guard, the toughest pike unit in Tilea, but they are actually a work-in-progress for Empire Greatswords.

Ricco’s Republican Guard
Swords sold separately
This part of my project to turn a 5th Edition Dogs of War army into an 8th Edition Empire army (albeit a mercenary one). Pikes will become spears, light cavalry will become pistoliers, the paymaster will become a warrior priest (switching spiritual incentives for material ones). I hope to have them ready  in time for MidWoffBoot ’12. (Yes, you may tremble.)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

"What is a WoffBoot?"

"Gotta paint 'em all!"
The phonetic pronunciation of WFBT, which is itself an acronym for 'Warhammer Fantasy Battle Tournament'.

Or, as one Warhammer widow once said, when glancing at an email, "What is a WoffBoot?"

WoffBoots are annual events, held over the course of a weekend in Spring. A round-robin tournament of small-scale Warhammer Fantasy battles, interspersed with movies and libation.

This blog has been established so competing generals can share their efforts to prepare, build and paint new armies for each upcoming WoffBoot (hopefully providing a spur to activity).

For the WoffBoot!