EPIC28

Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

WTF ?

 One of the more obvious consequences of recent political decisions taken here in recent years is the invalidation of the peace process in Norn Iron.

No matter that the GFA and the peace process were imperfect, nonetheless we have had a much less tense existence since 1992ish.  The basic tenant of the arrangement was that as both sides of the border were actually in the EU and therefore the rules around just about everything were the same so which side of the border one lived was not so important.  But changing the rules has picked at the scab and the wounds have re-opened.  

So browsing table top fix, I was slightly surprised at the timing of this as a release.

https://www.compassgames.com/product/the-troubles-shadow-war-in-northern-ireland-pay-later/

Whilst the game seems to be well researched, I was left wondering how the families of victims would react ? But gaming is really pretty niche and they are unlikely to learn of it's existence.  Given that there were already table top skirmish games out there when we still had boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan (were still losing friends and relatives), I possibly should not be surprised.  

I know I've said before that people's hobbies are their own.  And now turning around and holding something up as, in my opinion, poor taste might seem hypocritical.  But the 'it's only a game' line is unlikely to impress those mothers, sisters, daughters, fathers, sons and brothers who are still our neighbours and colleagues.  If I remember some of the victims names, those in the province will tell you what they had for breakfast the day they were murdered. 

This is not a case of 'get over it' for those involved.  People are still being killed (by 'accident': "Sorry, we were aiming at a policeman.").  And our current government appears to not understand or care that their continued mismanagement is making things worse.

We should not pretend that these events did not happen, but turning them into a game is just going to play into the hands of those on both sides who have no interest in how clever and balanced your card game is, they will just use it as one more small piece of ammunition, one more piece of kindling in the very real idealogical bonfire of what is still part of the UK. 

Careless at the very least.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Unpacking DKK now that the Kill Team release has been announced

 If you read this blog with any frequency at all, you've either seen this or made a conscious decision not to watch it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA3RmSKVnOw

And knowing my penchant for the DKK, you could be forgiven for assuming my unbridled joy.  

So as you follow me down this particular rabbit hole, do please remember that I'm a middle aged, self aggrandising arse with an unjustifiably high opinion of my own opinions.  And we need to wed this to the fact that I'm not GWs target audience.  And if you've read this far, you probably aren't either.  

The first hurdle to unbridled joy is my own innate snobbery.  We all like it when we know a really good pub or bar and no-one else we know is aware of it.  Or we support a local team in the national game and can feel like we're more of real fan that the thousands of Man Utd fans who've never been to Manchester.  Well, for me for a long time it was the DKK; despite not being the Steel Legion I was looking for their Forge World niche-ness and resinous awkwardness were something to revel in.  I was hooked and spent a lot of money having them painted by someone who was good at it in order to revel in the Glory that was my DKK collection.  So mainstream plasticality means the end of the FW lines and the inevitability of the DKK becoming more widespread.  Just me being an old fart. harrumph.

Allegedly, the new sprue has an interesting and diverse selection of parts.  On some of the kreig FB groups some people seem to think that they can see Grenadiers.  FW haven't stocked Grenadiers for over a year and there are no grenadiers in the selection as far as I can make out, so it's not even as if you could build one in ten as Grenadiers; y'know, buy eleven boxes to build ten rifle squads and a Grenadier squad.  Of course two or three in ten (given the modular nature of the minis) might be better (?).  But I already have Grenadiers, engineers, a platoon in summer uniform, Uhlans and so on.  There's nothing here I need...

And of course the elephant in the room is that the DKK attract a lot of inappropriate attention due to their aesthetic, which is viewed by some as redolent of Nazi militarism.  This is not helped by the fact that their name is the German word for war.  It's possible that I contribute to this myself by using German unit designations and giving the character models vaguely German sounding names.  But there do seem to be some people out there who latch on to the visuals, hear the name 'Kreig', read the backstory and instantly turn all brownshirt.  I'd like to stay away from all of that but the advent of plastic Kreig is just going to ramp it up.  Maybe.

And the last thing is that the plastics are going to be bigger and chunkier than the FW resin fellas.  Of course this is not an issue, people are different sizes.  Admiral Drax is bigger than me and Mr Lee is bigger than him.  And it won't really matter on the table top as even as a player, you are normally 4' or more away and small differences are hard to spot.  And I'm not really a subscriber to the 'they're all clones' idea either.  I'm just old and resistant to change.  To be honest I'm not sure that I'm even cheesed off that they are plastic from now on.  These days a GW plastic army is possibly as expensive as my resin one was when I bought it.  It's just me being a grouch at my loss of cache.

https://i.redd.it/hqfue7zf4fa71.png Having said all of that, you're still wondering, aren't you ?  Of course I've asked Col Gravis for a box.  But only one.  for a look.  

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Helgan reinforcements to Devos IV (three)

 

 

I had a bit of time so took a break from work and spent half an hour in the garden; they were basecoated with Wilco black satin hobby paint (surprisingly good and 1/3rd the price of GW spray cans).


 

Then Army Painter armour grey


 

Then Tamiya Panzer grey


 

Then Tamiya gunship grey


 

Lastly Tamiya ocean grey


 

So they fit the theme fairly well now. 


 

They need the obligatory glowing orange eyes


 

And (hopefully subtle) washes of various colours for tone, contrast and visual interest. 


 

Finally some actual detailing for particular items like smoke grenades and flamer nozzles.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Helgan reinforcements for Devos IV (two)

 

 

The previous post was about some trial models.   Which worked out OK and now there's a natural pause in the order of things (I'll explain), it was time to get these guys together.  You're looking at the back of some supporting machine gunners. 


 

And the front: pig iron heads, VL 'VERA' arms and bandolier torsos and VL greatcoat legs plus assorted other bits of kit.  One things these 'just assembled' picts show is the multi bitz nature of the kits.  Which is nice. 


More MG gunners, this time with the VL bren gun, a Cadian respirator head from shapeways (in clear, so you can't the detail at all here).  Some FW belt kit there. 


You can see here one guy has been given a FW DKK Heavy stubber instead of a bren gun.  Presumably the armoury had run of bren guns and gave him that because of the superficial similarities, instead of a comparable weapon system.  


 

Capt Meal Radic, with the hat on.  And Lt Kratek, without a mask.  Both stalwart adherents to a more extreme version of the Imperial Creed.  Led by men like these, these reinforcements will fit in well with the DKK or the Black Templars. 


Them again. 


Some picts of the riflemen, showing them loaded for a real shootin' war and armed with FW elysian rifles.



Some ye olde worlde Storm Troopers who I thought would blend in nicely.


Grenadiers.  There are only three at the moment, but the storm troopers are mostly special weapons so I'm ok with that.  For those unfamiliar with Killzone and wondering why these guys aren't organised into IG squads; all of the differing soldier types in the video game dress differently and wear different hats (literally, some helmet variations and lots of side hats and so on).  One might suppose that this makes telling them apart easier for the game developers, the gaming engine and ultimately the players as well.  Which means that I can then use bits from all over and it still all looks OK.  


There are more to do, as I alluded to earlier - I have some more bits to use - but I should get my 3D printer in a month or so; so I'm going to see what I can get out of that in the way of infantry bits before I send anymore spondulies to VL or anvil (Mad Robot are looking good too, but the postal system out of the USA is antediluvian).

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Sisters are doin' it for themselves

You've heard me before, waxing lyrical about the old softback codices, with their prose vignettes and their 5ed (-1/+1) charm.  And you can see from the price, that these were £12 each when they were current.  The 9ed Adepta Sororitas Codex was £33ish.  I'm not sure if what was £12 in the early 2000s is £33 twenty years later, but as we have discussed before, the world has moved on and even the people who work for GW have bills to pay (and shareholders to satisfy in a way they didn't twenty years ago)

So meh, the production values are better and more work has gone into it, but I'm not sure about creativity.  Maybe.  What this new book appears to have done is take all of the nunneries mentioned in the old book and fleshed them out.  This has been done in the most direct and least surprising way, but it has been done.  It's nice that the background has been built upon and expanded in a logical and sympathetic way, instead of being overtaken by a burst of hyperbole and ruined by covering it in skulls and more guns than it can carry ammunition for.  Ahem.

So by way of contrast, I offer up these two roughly corresponding paragraphs from the old (above) and new (below) publications.  What the new codex does is to squarely plant them as a faction in their own right (like the Ad Mech) in the new starting line up.  Whereas historically they have perhaps been under the wing of the church and the OH (even if the OH were actually using them to watch the church), the new edition has them out there being the driving force behind wars of faith and then has the OH standing around watching that wars of faith do not exceed their remit.  Exactly how one or even a handfull of Inquisitors is supposed to stop of war (harsh language ?) once its started* is not explained.  I think I prefer the version where the SoB are more or less the chamber militant of the OH, rather than the new one where they are making war on their own behest.  Of course, for once, it's been carefully written not to contradict the earlier version; if only they had been so careful with the rest of the 40K corpus. 


The Obvious pointers are that the old codex is entitled "Witch Hunters" and the basic option was (is) to build your army around an inquisitor and his/her retinue, with added Iggies, ISTs, SoBs and/or Space Marines.   This new codex is about fielding an SoB army; there is a large new mini range to shift and we don't want to be giving the spending public the idea that they might be using a significant part of their existing collection, when the codex can specify some neat all new SoB options.  It's the current world we live in; I don't begrudge GW their commerce - all the people I might face over the table are likely to be ok with 5ed and an iggy command squad of Straken and four heavy flamers because that game is going to run like a Bruckheimer movie - we are not the target audience anymore. 

So an overall thumbs up from me, which is a first for these GW hardbacks.  And of course, as I've reverted to 5ed for all gaming, most of the rules stuff means bugger all to me, but some can be shoe horned in for thematic reasons. 
 

Thursday, 10 June 2021

The Eagle has Landed

 You may remember that the mission for the German Commandos in the book was to eliminate Churchill and that in the end, the man they were aiming at turned out to be a decoy. 

So as the Eldar can foresee what might happen, it doesn't seem too far fetched that they might employ decoys for their leaders.  

Of course, it might simply be the thirty year old Eldrad meeting his younger, plastic, self.  This episode of Dr Who has been brought to you by Keela Mensha Kaine.  

I think this shows that the new figure is an homage to the old Jes Goodwin Eldrad.  And that the original Eldrad Sculpt was outstanding and, IMHO, still doesn't look too bad today. 

Old Eldrad was the first ever figure I had pro-painted.  but that was a llooonnngggg time ago. 

 

The new Eldrad was painted by Raven's Nest Painting.


Saturday, 5 June 2021

Catching up with old friends

I like to think of the books I read in my teens and early twenties as old friends.  They are familiar and reliable; I know what they're going to say on a subject.  I can share their pain, their struggle and eventual triumph.  It's important to look after old friends.  


I became aware that there was going to be another filum of Doon/June/Djoon in the middle of last year.  Oh crikey, I thought, I'd better re-read it so I can pompously pontificate (as is my want) from a position of less ignorance than I'm under right now.  I remember that the Lynch film was a bit like the pop video of the book; that it was well produced etc but due to being less than 14 hours long, failed to capture the nuances of the book.  Re-reading the book, I was right.  Compared to most space opera epics, not much really happens in Dune.  What you do get is a fascinating insight into certain aspects of the his world(s) that Hubert wanted to talk about.  It's good.  It's attention grabbing enough even if it's not as utterly compelling as Abnett.  There's certainly a lot of Dune in the 1984 RT book.  And the Daniverse, for that matter. 

 

My old Dune and Dune Messiah were the older, green cover types.  I've obviously lent them out at some point, possibly back in another life when I was a Tom.  So I had to buy the new one.  Which is nice.  I'm kinda hoping that I can pick up a copy of Dune Messiah in the same style/imprint.  


For Christmas 1983/84, my mum bought me Magician.  I suspect that she asked in the FLBS what the hot sellers in fantasy were and picked it that way.  I was more than happy that Christmas Day and certainly cannot remember what else I might have got.  The adventures of Pug/Milamber and Thomas/Ashen Shengaur were more immediate and accessible than Tolkien's more Edwardian characters.  Of course I now realise that I possibly have more in common with Aragorn and Bilbo than with Milamber and Thomas, but meh, they were great.  And even the midst of the riftwar was sometimes preferable to the real world.

Decades later I saw the revised edition in Waterstones somewhere and instantly grabbed it.  It sat on the shelf with it's much loved older self for over a decade until, putting Dune away, I picked it up.  Once again, the transformation of the two young boys into their adult selves and the machinations of Macros the Black (is Pug ever going to find out that he is Macros ?  Who knows...) and the clash of Kingdom of the Isles and Tsurani Empire sucked me in like quicksand in Harold Lloyd film.


So that arc pans out with these two books, tying all the loose ends up, restoring Guy the Bastard, making Jimmy the Hand, securing the succession in the Kingdom and generally proving that former foes can be allies etc.  Epic.  All the subsequent books are up there as well, But it's got to be daughter/servant/mistress of the empire next. 

Ok, you're thinking, fair enough, but what brought this on in the first place ?  A couple of blogs I frequent from time to time had mentioned that they were re-reading old favourites in lockdown and making observations/suggestions etc.  I commented on one that I might go back over the Belgariad, as it's a comfortable read which does not demand of it's reader in the same way that LOTR or Dune does, it's a much easier ride. Which it is.

So after Midkemia, it was off to the Alorns and Murgos and poor ol' small kitchen boy Garion being fed to Torak, the Dragon God of the Angraks. The humour is outstanding, the characters are ace, the dun- dun- daaARR ! is there.  I hadn't previously spent quite so long considering the implications of the theological aspects.  Still a lovely journey with old friends.  The Mallorean is up there on the shelf as well, so I'll have to have that out as well soon.

The only 'new' read here.  Once again the ghosts, forlorn, sent on another one way trip.  For what, I ask you ?  I suspect that real answer by now, decades after the great enemy destroyed Tanith, is that they have forgotten how to do anything else.  But again, the nods to the rest of the 40K universe - Gaunt remembering seeing DKK engineers using Hades breaching drills as a cadet etc - make this another ripping yarn from Kent's favourite sleep-thief. 


Which brings me to here.  Having put The Victory (part 1) on the shelf and assured myself that (part 2) is not yet available, my hand strayed those few inches to where my love/hate relationship with Abnett started.  Oh my god what a rollercoaster.  As I write this, the whole lot of them have been captured and the baddies are going to crash the wounded Hinterlight into a local star.  This is still as good as when I first lost a weeks sleep to it decades ago. 


So, rather than a page about airbrush failures, I thought I'd share this with you all.  After a decade or so of nothing more than military histories, revisiting fantasy and sci-fi is great.  There's a bit of 70s stuff in there, L Sprage deCamps, Harry Harrison, Ursula LeGunn, Michael Morcock, Fritz Leiber, Eric Vanlustbader.  So I might try a bit of that next.