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.
Warhammer 40k is the most popular wargame on the planet, full stop. It is a sprawling franchise that encompasses novels, video games, a theatrically released film, RPG’s, board games and miniature games (that happen to dominate its industry). The grimdark future world created by the Games Workshop design team decades ago still captures the imagination of gamers across the world and drives sales of a massive product line and supporting hobby supplies. This doesn’t surprise me; the world of 40k (and 30k) is pretty fucking cool. Even as I’ve aged out of their core demographic, Games Workshops dark vision of space has a lot that can draw me back in. Powerful imagery, insane power struggles and every aspect of military cultures turned up to 11. Massive hive cities where 100’s of millions of inhabitants live on top of each other in Dickensian despair, in their midst hide alien conspiracies and brutal gang warfare. Powerful manifestations of chaotic gods pour forth from a rip in space and time so massive its swallowed whole planetary systems.A devout order of space fascists, sitting in a fortified monastery on a surviving chunk of their destroyed planet, secretly hunting traitors from their own order. This world is batshit crazy and insane in some of the best possible ways. It’s a Tolkien fantasy world ripped to pieces, thrown into deep space andstitched back together with a punk rock ethos, space opera drama and a heaping helping of gothic trappings. Warhammer 40k is without question the showpiece game of the hobby (for better or for worse). It is the most popular, best selling, widely known and most visible game of the entire wargaming world. Sadly, it’s a game that is still lacking in female representation, and that’s some shameful shit. It’s a world that quite frankly deserves female Space Marines.
“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 →
My name is Tanya and I have a bucketload of shame. I have many models, shelves full of them, but almost nothing is painted. I know, I’m a monster. As someone who doesn’t play tournaments and barely gets to play due to living in a relatively isolated community, painting has always taken a backseat to my other nerdy endeavours. I’m also a very relaxed gamer; I love to play but I do not care if my opponent needs to proxy some stuff, or his/her models also aren’t painted, and certainly I don’t care if marines are in mix and match power armour. Seriously, let’s just play! I’m a busy woman: I am training to play my first roller derby game, I am a full time pawn broker, and I have other hobbies too(like RPG night once a week, and squeezing video and board games in every once in awhile). That being said, I want to work on painting more in 2016.
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 →
So when you’re best mate & Corehammer’s own Charie Brebner won a painting competition judged by Paul Sawyer (Fat Bloke!) and is featured on the Warlord site, it’s rude not to take a few sneaky pics and throw it up on Corehammer & YouTube. You can see the Warlord article here.
From time to time I bang on about these. If you’re looking to pick up some new skills, or hone some existing ones, there is absolutely no better way to do so than painting with other people.
Liverpool painter John Harrison has been running weekend workshops for coming up to 4 years now, and has brought over some of the most talented and well respected miniature painters in the world to deliver classes in Liverpool, Cardiff and Cambridge. I’ve not met a single student who has come away from one of these classes feeling like their money had not been well spent.
John has two classes that he runs himself a few times per year. The first is his beginners class. This lasts a weekend and comes highly recommended. But the class he is bringing to Cardiff next month will be focussing on vehicle weathering, which over the last few years has reached something of a zenith in miniature painting. The more tutorials people see, the narrower the gap gets between high end historical painters and tabletop focussed gamers. While many of these techniques are on display in books, and in YouTube tutorials, there is no substitute for sitting down with an experienced painter and watching them go through them in the flesh.
Having gone through the weathering workshop late on in 2014, I can confirm that it covers a lot of innovative and exciting techniques to make your vehicles look in a very poor state indeed. This includes, but is far from limited to the use of oil paints, weathering pigments and chipping fluids.
If you have the weekend free, and weathering is something you are looking to expand upon, I can suggest no better way to spend your dosh than this workshop. Very, very highly recommended. Places cost £95 for the weekend, and are strictly limited. It will take place at popular gaming venue and online store Firestorm Games, in Cardiff. Get in touch with John via the event page on Facebook for more details and to book your place.
In around 2011 I thought I would start getting serious about painting. I was amassing a fairly big collection since coming back to the hobby in 2005, and had played a few games but I hadn’t really met anyone who I enjoyed gaming with outside of my long time mates from over in Manchester. So I had hundreds of miniatures sat there doing nothing, and since I had always admired painters from my childhood, I thought I would start trying to push that aspect of the hobby instead. I came across Miniature Mentor, which is an excellent, but seemingly dwindling resource offering video tutorials from some of the worlds most wonderful painters. The site, especially its beginner videos is a perfect first step. For its flaws however, the best thing about Miniature Mentor is how it blew open the door and inspired a lot of tech-savvy painters to take that blueprint and improve it. Enter Painting Buddha.
It seems lately the Corehammer Facebook group has been going from strength to strength, and with it, has had a resurgence of insanely painted minis. So we thought it was time we showcased a few of the top forces again … Continue reading →