Wednesday, 21 November 2012

We're half way there...



I haven't done anything hobby related for a little while,but I'll soon change that.

I still have the tables to clear off and I've been quite busy looking after the pregnant rats.

We have 24 rat pups at this moment in time, all seem to be quite fit and healthy.

So that's 3 females delivered, 3 more to go...


Take care everyone,

Jonah

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Khorne Berzerker : army concept figure



A few years ago I converted and painted this is a miniature with an eye toward doing an entire Khorne Chaos Space Marine army, possibly World Eaters.

Unfortunately it never went further, I had a hobby slump of a couple of years and never went back to it.

I still like the miniature, even though I can see rough spots that I could do better now.

He just sits up on my shelf looking at me now, a lone berzerker....

hmmm...

I may go back to this project yet... We'll see.



See you around,
Jonah

Gaming terrain : Field Stone Wall Sections


I'm getting around to populating my tabletop with some terrain I've had on a back burner for a while.

Soon I'm hoping that there will be no more "counts as" props for landmarks on the battlefield.

I actually made these wall sections a months ago, but I've only just got around to painting and flocking them.

The wall sections are each 6" inches long, in Warhammer you roll for D3 6" obstacles on terrain set-up.




These wall sections are pretty versatile for table set-up. Whether it is for wargaming or roleplay. They can be random obstacles and line-of-sight blockers, or placed to make larger terrain like gardens and pastures alongside any buildings and other terrain is placed on the board.




Here's a scale shot of them, I just grabbed a nearby miniature to illustrate it. As you can see, the walls come to slightly higher than waist height on a 28mm miniature, but the process of making them could be modified for different scales very easily.





Since I made these before I started the blog there weren't any work in progress shots of their construction, but I'm planning on rectifying that.

I want many more obstacles of different types, so I will take pictures as I go and post them as future tutorials, so watch this space.


Take care everyone,
Jonah

Saturday, 17 November 2012

My appreciation of the Games Workshop hobby, the many staff I have met and my random quest of randomness...



Bleurgh...
This is an article I was supposed to post up last week-ish, but I fell ill and that disrupted things...
Here it is nonetheless...



Hey everyone,
this is going to be an odd one. But maybe it will give you a bit of a peek into how my head works at times and the difficulties I sometimes have to break through.

It is a bit of a ramble, but please stick with it.

Forewarned is forearmed...

The other day whilst I was stripping the Realm of battle boards I had a torrent of thoughts and ideas rolling around in the maelstrom I call a mind.

It happened pretty much like it does whenever I partake in monotonous duties of some kind, for instance when I worked as a packer in a warehouse, padding shelves at Virgin Megastore, when cleaning, peeling vegetables or preparing dinner in general for the kids and in this instance whilst washing and scrubbing the boards.

At moments like this my mind gets to roil with ideas, half-formed thoughts and day dreams. It can be a blessing or a curse at different times.

I started to think about the Games Workshop hobby, it's impact on my life and various other things tied to it that have come up in conversations I've been involved in, witnessed, or read on the internet.

Specifically around issues such as price hikes, Games Workshop staff sales tactics in-store, forgetting their roots/fans, their younger target audience and the years spent as part of the hobby.

Now through this tumult I was able to string together some coherent thoughts and opinions.

Now I've been in the hobby since around 1989 (which would have made me about 8 years old at that time) with the release of the GW/MB board game Heroquest which brought my attention to the gaming hobby in general. At the time of writing this I am 31 years of age. So as you can see, I've loved this hobby for a very large chunk of my life (note: there were times I tried to ditch the hobby in the past, but to no avail, it's too much a part of me to let go...)

Now before we go any further and I start to sound like a hypocrite, I'd just like to say that I have been an instigator in both the positive and negative sides of the following points and arguments that I'm about to give my opinions on over the years. But what I'm about to write about is the result of those many years of conversations and a sort of resolution in my mind on some of those points that I came to...

I don't know if this is even making the slightest bit of sense so I'll move on to the points I want to discuss...





The Games Workshop hobby is too expensive...


Look... I won't sugar-coat it. As a hobby it can get a little pricey, but there are other hobbies out there that will burn through your pockets with the same if not greater speed.

Hobbies are an indulgence... Choose your poison well...

You and I take part in this hobby because we want to, not because we want something cheap, but because the different Warhammer settings are very rich and enthralling and they call to us and we want to take part in them.

You can do a lot to combat spending too much on your hobby. Plan your army lists ahead of time and only buy what you need to get a force up and running, then future purchases can be whatever you wish to have in your force/collection.

Buying on a whim or impulse buying can be disastrous to the old wallet and finances. now I'm not saying you should stop it (gods know I can't...) but you should try to take control and rein it in a bit. One way could be to set yourself little goals/targets, for instance, you're allowed to buy anything that takes your fancy, but only when you've finished painting up "X" miniature/unit.

Buying from independent stockists, online retailers, second hand (Ebay etc). I do this from time to time, I've got four kids and I care for two adults, so money can be a little tight at times. But the point I want to make on this is i am no longer bemoaning the normal retail prices in Games Workshop stores and here's why:

Yes you may save a couple of quid here and there buying from other places, but...
What other social activities do you do that will only cost you a couple of quid to take part?

Just take a moment to reflect on your buying habits...

Now... I did and this is what I came up with:

I could stay at home, buy something online, get on with my day to day routine and wait for my goods to arrive and just concentrate on my hobbying at home alone and with friends...

Or...

I could go out, get a bit of fresh air, have a change of scenery, maybe get my friends to come along and make a day of it, talk to other people into the same hobby as I am involved in and maybe, just maybe, make new friends and have a good day out... (especially if I grab a cup of tea somewhere... everything is better with tea... You hear me Games Workshop..? TEA!!!.)

I know which one I prefer, I'd rather have a good day and potentially expand my local hobby/gaming network than run the risk of becoming a more solitary gamer and steadily become socially retarded*.


(*no offence is aimed at those that suffer from mental problems or disabilities, I use the word for it's literal meaning of: Held or To Hold Back.)

Games Workshop staff are pushy and sales hungry OR I don't like their attitude/demeanor...


Okay... Let me start this little rant with a bloody obvious statement...

Games Workshop is a business... Okay..? Got that..?

A business has two purposes, one is to make money (the one people usually complain about). The other is to supply services or goods to their customers (the one they don't generally complain about).

Now let's take a look at some of the duties and/or services the staff perform...

The staff members at your local store are employees for the said company, it is their job to make sales as well as provide hobby advice/guidance, don't hate someone for doing their job, that's just pointless and honestly a little ridiculous...

If you don't like going through the "sale dance" with an employee, just tell them you'd like to take the time to look around and browse on your own. No feelings will be hurt, they are people too, not demanding vending machines.

Or, you could have a conversation with one of them (*gasp*...). The staff members of your local store are not only hobbyists like yourself, they love the hobby so much they have decided to make a career of it, I commend them.

So chat awhile with them, have a nice talk about your hobby, ask advice on future additions to your collection, ask for help with any hobby problems you may have and thank them for their time... Everyone likes to be appreciated.

Take a moment to think about the other duties they perform in the background for you and others that frequent your local store that may not be immediately at the forefront of your thoughts.

They offer you a nice, clean, friendly and welcoming atmosphere to take part in your hobby activities and meet other hobbyists.

They work to provide built and painted terrain to play on. Painted miniatures for the store cabinets. Dedicate time to keeping up on current rules and updates so they can better help you all. A lot of the time they will do these things in their own spare time, taking away time they may otherwise spend on their own hobbies or with loved ones.

At times they have to manage a store full of attention hungry hobbyists many of them young and impatient.

And they have to do all this and comport themselves in a friendly, but strict, respectful and patient manner. It must be hard work at times, as I have already said, I have four children, I'm allowed to tell them off and deny them things like pocket money and T.V. when they are misbehaving, but not a room full of other peoples children.

Many, many staff members set a good example and are good role-models for these youngsters, yet again, commendable.

Which nicely leads to my next point...

I don't like going to a Games workshop store full of kids...


This is one that gets to me. It's a strange argument I've heard many times.

Games Workshop stores are full of kids... Yeah... They are... Well done, have a cookie.

You know what?

Many moons ago, I was one of those kids, I'm willing to bet whoever is reading this will most likely have been one too.

Would you like to know what I remember most fondly about my time as a gamer kid in a GW store..? I don't know why I'm asking, I'm going to tell you anyway...

The staff members for one, for many of the reasons I listed previously in this article already.

But it was the older gamers, those that took the time and patience to talk to us young'uns and like the staff gave us advice on hobby matters, gaming tactics and just generally making us a part of the community.

I remember the other older gamers too... The ones that looked down on the youngsters in the store... Patronised you for not knowing the rules properly yet... Putting down your crappy paint job that you had spent hours trying to get just right... Lording it over you when they wiped your forces from the board with their superior and mature tactics...

Don't be that guy... Be the other guy... The one that will be remembered fondly...

Games Workshop don't care about their fans/customers...


This is a short but sweet one...

They do care about you... If it wasn't for you, there wouldn't be a Games Workshop...

Think about the realities of that statement.

Games workshop don't support my favourite system anymore...


Yes... This is a bit of a specialist games rant...

This one is also a bit of a double edged sword...

You want Games Workshop to support the specialist games again..?

The only way that can happen is if you support the specialist games too...

Organise games in your group/area, post pictures and articles up about you doing so, post on the Games Workshop feeds (facebook etc) about it...

And the one that would work the most would probably be:

Buy specialist games products from Games workshop... They are a business, remember..? Products only get support if they in turn are supported and have a readily available market...

So if you want "X" system to get more products/support, promote it in any way you can.



My Random Quest




So.. There you have what happens when my head is left to run amok and I'm washing gaming boards in a bath...

But...

My day didn't end there... In fact it was only about 9:30am...

I decided to put up or shut up. I got myself ready and decided I was going to go tell the staff how I felt.

My partner upon hearing my points and reason for going out, gave me a funny, quizzical look and said,

"Really..? Are you sure..? Okay... Enjoy yourself..."

(I love my girlfriend... She puts up with my particular flavour of madness quite admirably...)

I have lived in Shipley, West Yorkshire for about 12 years now. It's a nice enough place but that's not the point I'm trying to make.

This is:

Due to where I live I can pop down to the local train station and on average it only takes 10-15 minutes journey time to get to the Bradford, the city I mostly grew up in. And it is pretty much almost the exact same travel time to get to Leeds, my original hometown and place of birth.

Other than divulging my location, why am I saying this..?

Well... It pretty much means that I theoretically have 2 local Games Workshop stores.
And I like to go to both, not just to show support and purchase things, but because of the staff new and old that work in both stores.

And so... With scratch off day rider in hand, I headed off for the Bradford store on the first leg of my quest...



The Bradford store is one of the one-man hobby centres, it is ran very well by Manager Christopher Ritchie.

I haven't really known Chris very long in the scheme of things, but he is a very friendly and amiable individual. I've had many an interesting natter with him in store and it's always nice to pop in.

I got there, he greeted me as I entered the store and asked if I was looking for anything?

When I said I was there specifically to see him and to tell him something but it was going to be odd, he gave me my second quizzical look of the day and said,

"Oh... Okay... Go on then, it won't be the weirdest thing I've heard."

I gave him a run-down of the points I've written in this article, the reason that I started this blog in the first place and that I appreciated the job he did.

He seemed rather pleased, I stayed for a while chatted about various aspects of the hobby, bought a miniature and left upon the second leg of my journey...

(As an aside, on my train journeys of the day I was reading the novel Eye of Terror by Barrington J. Bayley, I was about half way through at that point, I recommend it, a fun, fast read.

When I hit Leeds, I dashed to Greggs, then bought and devoured a sausage, bean and cheese pasty, a fun fast lunch, I recommend these also.)

Right... let's get back on track...


To the Leeds store...

The Leeds store manager is one Steven Bartlam.

Now, I've known Steve since I was in my teens and he started working for Games Workshop as a part time trainee.

I've always got on with him and really enjoyed catching up whenever I pop into the store. So I planned to tell him pretty much the same as I had told Chris.

I went in the store browsed a little and was approached by a staff member (I believe his name is Jim... I'm terrible with new names...

***edit***... Steve Confirmed his name is Jim Bloom...***

He greeted me and stated,

"Well.. you walked in like a man with a purpose, are you after something in particular..?"

I asked if Steve was in and he said,

"unfortunately no, he's got the day off..."

Hmm... Plan scuppered...

Well... not to be perturbed I had a lengthy and quite enjoyable conversation with him instead, I hadn't really spoken to him before but he is a rather nice fellow...

He asked if I'd seen the new chaos releases and we got talking about conversions. I said I was thinking about getting a Stonehorn and combining it with the new chaos warshrine, strapping the shrine platform to the top of the beast like a howdah, kind of an homage to the Forge World chaos war mammoth.

I picked up a miniature I'd been after for a while, paid my thanks, said my goodbyes and headed home...

I had such a cheerful time on this little quest of mine, that after being thrown by the absence of Steve and then having a really nice conversation with Jim , that I forgot to tell him why I was there in the first place.

So just in case you read this, Steve mate, you are much appreciated.

Jim, it was a pleasure to meet you and nice to talk to you you are also much appreciated as are all the Leeds store staff members.

One last thing before I end this long rant and ramble...




A Roll Call and Dedication of sorts





Martin "Squat"
Alex
Ian
Rob Bastow
Jorf
Cess
Cavey
Richard Wilson

The others I mentioned in the above ramble.

And quite probably a few other staff members I have met and forgotten your name at this second in time because of my sieve-like memory...

And to all Games Workshop storefront staff members, past, present and future.

Everyone into the hobby knows the names of many of the designers, sculptors and painters. They are pretty much the celebrities of the hobby...

But you are the face of the hobby, the front line, the ones that many will remember for years to come.

I'd just like to thank you all, for all the hard work and dedication and there are many of us out there that appreciate the work that you did, do, or will do.






***edit***... Steve said the next time I pop in I should talk to him to get more info to complete the roll call...***

Take care everyone,

Jonathan

Monday, 12 November 2012

Stripping my realm of battle gameboards...



Hi everyone, the stomach bug seems to be abating, so I can finish editing some of my articles and get back to normal...

Well... As normal as I ever get to be...




I recently found out that static grass aggravates my allergies leaving me very sore in the throat, nose and eyes.

Now that's a bit of a problem considering that much of the terrain I still have has it on there, including my Realm of Battle gameboards and the stuff tends to shed.

So a few days ago I decided to do something about it...

I quickly popped out to the supermarket to buy a cheap scrubbing brush. And as soon as I got back home I strapped on a dust mask, welding goggles, grabbed my brush, grabbed a couple of small tea strainers and put on my slippers...

(Don't look at me like that... we have tiled floors in the bathroom and my feet get cold...)

Then looking like a strange cross between Mr Muscle and a fat road warrior, I took my Realm of Battle boards into the bathroom to face their fates.




How I went about stripping the boards:

1. First I placed the smallest tea strainer over the plug hole to capture the static grass and avoid blocking the plumbing.



2. I worked one board at a time just placing them in the bathtub on an angle to have the water run down.



3. As you can see, a blast of hot water was enough to soften the P.V.A. glue holding the static grass without harming the boards.



4. A little scrubbing was needed to remove any stubborn pieces and bits of clinging glue.



5. I worked on the modular hill sets in the same way.



6. I know it seems rather odd due to why I stripped the boards in the first place. But I collected the static grass with a second strainer and put it in a container for future use after it is dried out.

I will probably be more discreet/modest with my static grass use in future projects though. For example, mixing small bits with glue to texture/weather tank treads. If it is used that way mixed with glue/paint it shouldn't shed like before.

And I'll probably be wearing the same dust mask/welding goggle combo when I do work with it in future.



7. Here you can see the boards and hills stripped bare back to the under-painting which was practically untouched. I assume that it may be because I undercoated the boards with Citadel black primer before painting.


8. And then I just left them to dry before taking them back down to our hobby room.





Plans for the future of my boards:

I've decided that I'm going to go with a desert/arid ash waste paint job for my boards.

That way there will be no particles floating around to set off my allergies.

I'm not terribly fond of the base texture of the boards, but I'm not gluing sand all over them either, due to weight and the potential for chipping models and scraping knuckles.

I've read in various places recently that John Blanche has been using baking powder sometimes with the odd few grains of sand to add a finer texture to bases.

I may give this a go on the boards to break up the texture on them.

I'm also pondering using some of the pastels I have ground up to use as weathering powders, to get a more realistic dry look. I'll probably have to seal the boards with matte varnish spray afterward.

When I'm done the boards will be ideal for most games, Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40,000, Necromunda, Gorkamorka and probably others too...



So that's the plan...

I'll update more later, take care.

Jonathan

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A visit from Father Nurgle...



I would have been finishing the editing on a couple of articles to post up...

And yesterday I was to be roleplaying with my games group, for the first time in a while we had pretty much everybody there...

But...

My children decided I was to get the nasty stomach bug that kept them off school all week...

Delightful...

So I had to skip out on roleplay...

And my guts have been twisting all day...

Sometimes Nurgle's blessings can be quite a hindrance...

Take care everybody.

I'll try to...

Jonathan