This is an article nominally about my trip to Stockport to attend Corehammer Fest 2016 in October. If you can’t be bothered reading the whole thing, it was a great time and you should go to the next one if you can. If you can be bothered slogging through my ramblings, hopefully you come to the same conclusion.
“Come to the fucking North”
This was the response I got when I floated the idea that I’d be over to London in early 2015. Not exactly the warm welcome I was hoping. You see, for Americans, the UK wargaming scene is often seen as a sort pilgrimage to be made. The motherland where the hobby in a modern sense was launched, where the biggest and most influential companies are based, and where every field and lane probably has dead soldiers from some medieval armor wearing era buried beneath. But on this trip in 2015, I saw none of that. I did manage to meet up with one very special Stevie Boxall, who took a couple Californians to a British Mexican restaurant and a walking tour of brutalist London architecture, cheers. But that was the start, when I returned for work almost a year later I finally made it out of London and to the wonders of GW and Wargames Foundry (covered in a previous DungeonPunx Podcast, you should listen, but probably won’t) and was shown an incredibly warm welcome by a bunch of good dudes. That experience planted a brain worm that burrowed deep, and ensured I’d be coming back again, and would make gaming a priority when I did. So, when the dates came out for the October 2016 event, I said fuck it and plotted a way to make it happen.
Last article I introduced the game Saga: Viking Age to readers. What I left out of my ridiculous and meandering prose was discussion of how to get your grubby hands on one of the most important aspects of any miniatures game, the figures. See, historical games are a little different than the current incarnations of Warhammer, Malifaux, WarhmaHordes etc… in that there are often times a plethora of miniature companies that make compatible figures, and there is no IP infringement or cease and desist letters on history. It isn’t always as easy as just purchasing the exact thing they show in the book, but with this added effort comes incredible choice on how you want to spend your hard earned stacks of cash.
If you’ve been primarily coddled by the sweet retail presence of Games Workshop or Privateer press, you might find sourcing figures for Saga a different (and sometimes challenging) experience. The purpose of this article therefore is to quickly discuss a whole host of manufacturers, what Saga relevant figures they’ll have and some thoughts on their quality. Its a primer, a showcase of this particular period and some of the best (and worst) the internet will throw up on you. This is not meant to be a totally exhaustive list, but as close as I could come to with the knowledge I have. About 95% of these manufacturers I own miniatures from, sometimes from the ranges I’m picturing, so while this is my highly subjective opinion, it at least has some false grounding in experience. Finally, I’ll throw in some good pop culture inspiration to get your mind working and ready to jump on board the fad train as it once again leaves the station. First however, I’d like to discuss a couple realities for those new to the historical miniatures scene.
“The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.”
This time of year breeds resolutions like a fetid swamp spawns plague carrying mosquitoes. Gyms, health food stores and libraries get packed as legions strive for self-improvement after the decadent and sometimes soul crushing holidays. A newer better version of your life is tantalizingly close if you just change these small things, form new habits and check boxes off a list. Easy as can be right? Eat less, exercise more, be kinder, care less about work and more about friends, value experiences over things. Now resolutions rarely work, and often if you look back at previous resolutions you could just carry them forward year after year and nothing changes. Honestly, when you catalog what you don’t like about yourself, these are usually those things that don’t change, so you find some outward trait to attach meaning too. A month of pushing off hard in all directions, trying to do everything at once as part of the new you, crashes out, and by March you’re cheating yourself and by June you’ve forgotten all about it. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though. This hard look in the mirror at the lazy bastard staring back at you is important, and can be quite positive, you just have to do it more than once a year. So this is the 1st of what I hope to be a monthly update where you have visibility into, and hold me accountable, to my gaming goals. Instead of just talking shit about all the things you should or could be doing, I’ll have to actually step up and produce. God help you. Continue reading →
If you have a hobby, you have projects. Honestly it doesn’t matter if you’re into miniatures, rpg’s, fishing, music, ridiculous cars or quilting, you always have things you want to be working on if you just had the time. Now the nature of our modern lives means we never have the time we think (or want) to move this stuff forward, which creates a backlog of unfinished, sometimes only dreamed of projects. This is the chaos of your mind. That disheveled area were wild ideas are left to roam. Now there are two methods of dealing with this chaos, especially in gaming.
Complete each project you start methodically, focusing all attention and thinking on one thing at a time. Don’t even consider other creative endeavors until you’re at a finished stage on the previous item. When people ask what you’re working on, it will be the same thing as last time and you always complete what you start.
Keep those dreams alive. Embrace your hobby wobbles and tangential flights of fancy filling your life with mental explorations of those things you’re passionate about. Love the chaos.
So if you can do method 1, congratulations, you’re probably a robot. Seriously, look at yourself hard in a mirror, try and remember the last time you got sick, have an expert ask you cross referenced questions about empathy with a Voight-Kampf machine, because you might not be human. If you can seriously tell me you never think about something new till you’ve finished the old, I don’t fucking trust you. This article is for the rest of us. Those that fall more squarely into method 2. It’s about the rich landscape of the mind and how planning projects, dreaming of armies/systems/terrain and games is an important part of the hobby that should be acknowledged and celebrated. Continue reading →
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I was introduced to RPG’s at a reasonably young age by two little shits on the school playground. It was the very end of the 1980’s and I was an introverted 10 year old at a new school. At lunch I overheard two kids talking about killing some form of demonic wolf creatures that couldn’t be seen without a magical spell. Now being a fledgling fantasy fan who had watched the Ralph Bakshi ‘Lord of the Rings’ at least 20 times, this sounded supremely interesting. I edged closer and closer hoping to enter the conversation through some weird form of social osmosis, willing them to notice me. They finally stopped talking and looked at me in unison.
“What are you guys talking about?”
“Roleplaying” came the brisk reply
“What is that? Sounded cool.”
“We play a game were we’re warriors and wizards who kill all kinds of monsters and get magic. It’s called Dungeons and Dragons.” The words sort of escaped in a lazy rambling manner as if this was the most boring question I could have ever asked.
This photo has no relevance to the content of the article. I just really like Fudge Tunnel
Corehammer was originally intended as an outlet for our ragged band of dungeonpunks to collectively scream into the awning void of cyberspace about our mutual boner for gaming culture and the underground music that fuelled our creative endeavours. Whilst there’s no denying we’ve done well within that remit, I have to be honest that I had envisaged a broader sweep to both elements of our schtick and lately cannot help but feel we’ve come up a little short in that regard.
Whilst not wishing to besmirch the efforts of the other guys, for the most part my contribution to CH has just boiled down to me occasionally ranting on about whatever mainstream hardcore band has caught my attention interspersed with photos and discussion of contemporary Games Workshop armies. Neither of these things inspire me to write with any zeal, passion or regularity. Personally It feels like I have exhausted my muse somewhat and I feel we are in danger of becoming just another Games Workshop obsessed blog. I don’t think that is what any of us ever wanted. At this juncture then, I am forced to consider what I am getting out of all this and what I can actually offer going forward. It would appear that I have reached a crossroads of sorts….. Continue reading →
For this months Single Figure Challenge I decided it was high time we shook it up a bit. When things stay the same for too long stagnation and inertia sets in and I am not having any of that on CH, we are agents of change goddamnit! My plan then, was to start introducing occasional themed challenges into the mix and encourage some experimentation with miniatures outside the realm of the obvious contemporary 40k/WHFB/Warmahordes stuff.
Somewhat fortuitously, our (apparently warp tainted) homie Jake over at PaintxDestroy decided to surprise us with a box of vintage Rogue Trader era 40K figures with the proviso that the crew paint them up and send him pictures of the finished minis. A crossover of sorts then, like the blogging equivalent of the Judgement Night soundtrack. So here’s Part 1 with Part 2 coming as soon as the rest of us quit dicking around and finish our miniatures. HUGE shout out to Jake for donating the minis and kicking us down with some serious grind, good looking out buddy. Also much love and respect to the Oldhammer community for inspiring this months challenge, hopefully the first of many! Continue reading →
‘Twitch once, Miller and you are king of the heap.
Twitch twice and you’re inconsolably lost.
Carry on and remember the twitch’
Last year as part of our Jagged Visions series, I wrote a gushing account of my personal experiences with Ian Millers work. Shortly after, Titan Books contacted me to say they’d read the piece and would I be interested in taking a look at a retrospective volume of Ian’s work that they had recently published. Naturally I leapt at the opportunity and given my current obsession with surfing the Fighting Fantasy zeitgeist, it seemed an appropriate time to post this review of a man who’s cover to House Of Hell caused me many sleepless nights all those years ago.