Monday, March 29, 2010

Steal My Ideas - Volume 1

Gonna take a quick break from my comp hate, to bring you something a bit lighter. So without further ado:


The sad truth of the matter is that I have way more ideas for painting and modeling than I have time or money to pursue them. I come up with all kinds of half baked, quarter baked, raw and/or double oak smoked back bacony ideas that I'll never get to use because I just won't get to them. So I'm going to give them away! That's right, a bunch of totally rad ideas that are totally free for anyone to steal and not one has to feel bad about it. Not even Jesus. And if you think these ideas suck - well then fuck you! 'Cause they're free. Haha!

Lauby's Totally Rad Tribute to Black and White World War Pictures
For whatever reason, we Americans have a boner for WWII. Its a pretty major part of our cultural identity when you think about it. But tons of inaccurate video games, a slew of strange beliefs Americans have about our involvement, a national predisposition to accusing someone of being a Nazi in every argument ever and a strange antagonism with the French aside one of the most fascinating things about the war is the photographic and film records.*

Whenever anyone thinks of a big-ass war, WWII invariably comes up and with it all these little slices of life preserved on film. Its actually pretty neat that all these records exist in the first place when you think about it. Anywho, all these WWII pictures get used all the time for inspiration and research for modelers. So go a step further:

Paint your entire army like its a black and white photograph of WWII!

How cool would that be? On a scale between 'lame' and 'totally rad' ('lame' being the lowest), I think it would be at least 12 ¼.

If you could actually force yourself to paint every last model in your army in a forced grayscale scheme, think you would certainly turn some heads. Remember, this include the bases as well.

Lauby's Totally Sweetdiculous CHiPs Themed Ork Biker Army.
This one came to me a while ago when Nob biker lists were the way to go when you wanted to pound face with Orks. I imagine that it probably still works. In any case, what is the quintessential motorcycle media experience? CHiPs!** And what is the standard example of Ork scariness? Nob Bikers! Lets combine the two!!

This one is pretty simple, all you have to do is paint all your bikes black and white like the California Highway Patrol and then paint all the boyz in tan uniforms. Genius! Hell, you could order some sweet Ork heads from Micro Art Studios and get added hilarious hat action!

But that's not even the best part. Nononono. Since the standard Nob biker list has two Bosses, you've got a golden opportunity to make your own Ork versions of Ponch and Jon. Now, Ork Erik Estrada and Ork Larry Wilcox can crush your enemies and keep the highways safe!

Lauby's Totally Awesome Robot Uprising Imperial Guard Army
This one was inspired by Stelek's LOLride tactics article a while back.

I've always had a secret, even... forbidden... love of the quirks of the Inquisition codices that allow for some pretty cool mixed forces type lists. Sadly this may not be the case depending on the contents of the fabled, new Inquisition book (if and when it comes out). But that's tears in beer for another day. Right, mixed forces... like I said, pretty cool stuff can be made. However, sometimes all that variety gets boring.

Let me explain: the inquisition models are some of the oldest that GW produces - lots of very static poses and little variation. On the other hand, mixing models from three armies is a real quick way to make your army look indistinct in appearance. Plus, when you get right down to it, lots of the inquisition codex users have already moved to inducted land so you're not being all that unique.

For whatever random reason, the LOLride article caused some ideas to gel in my head. Two Three words: Robot Uprising Army. This is probably the idea I'm most excited about out of the three I'm giving away. Also, I'm not entirely convinced I wont mess around with it some day. Who knows? Unholy Krondor? 'Cause I sure don't.

The basic idea comes flows from one of the underlying pieces of the Imperium fluff - they hate artificial intelligences. Big parallel to the Dune universe there. In any case, my idea was that on a remote mining planet, some miners decided to use some robots they found/made to do all the heavy work. Maybe even some forced human labor. Then: BAM! Robot revolution. Now you've got a small group of robots and their human slaves waging war on the rest of the planet using whatever captured weapons and re-purposed mining vehicles they have.

I think this list from Azarsgp is a pretty good base to work from. There are plenty of opportunities to model robot overlords - the Grey Knights in particular can be modeled as hulking mining machines. The commissar and the heavy weapons teams are others. The command squad as well. You could even get creepy and make Straken a full robot and then all the peons a collection of horrible cyborgs. The only thing I'd want to differently is somehow work in Sentinels. Because, you know... big robots.

You've also got a great opportunity to model a very random collection of humans for the big foot platoons. Maybe give them some kind of shock collar and some kind of horrible flaying machines as sergeants.

Keeping with the mining theme, you've got a golden opportunity to add drills and saws and so forth to EVERYTHING. You could do worse than basing your Terminators on the Tau Stealth suit kits. It also just occurred to me that some kind of transport shuttle carrying a shipping container would make a pretty baller Vendetta stand in. Hell, if you threw in some Sisters of Battle for whatever reason you wanted, you can make fem-bots. Please don't be creepy about this one, or everyone will feel bad.***

Other than that, go nuts. Lots of opportunities for kit-bashing and converting. Lots of ways to add character to your army. ...and lots of ways to add insanity. Also, don't get too bound by the standard metal box. About the only down side is if GW ever removes the ability to take Inquisitorial allies. Then you're fucked. No matter what, the key thing to keep in mind is that anything that is in charge of anything else or really dangerous should be a robot... or a robot vehicle.

Man, that's a way funnier picture for a robot uprising.

Right, sooooo... steal my ideas. Just be aware that I may just have pumped myself up about imperial guard for the first time ever.

-----[Foot Notes]--------------------------
*All kinds of actual, serious business downplayed for comedic effect. Man, I'm totally pussing out with this footnote.

**If you said Easy Rider, Torque, Renegade or Chopper Chicks in Zombietown you would be WRONG! Heatvision and Jack, while awesome, is also WRONG! If you said Sidehackers or Ghostrider, you're DEAD TO ME!

***Seriously, please don't go out and make a bunch of big-titted robot ladies. Doctor Thunder does enough of that kind of thing for everyone already.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Composition Scoring: More Limiting Than You Think (pt. 1.53)

Before I get back to why comp scoring is just as bad for painting, modeling and fluff as it is for competition, I want to draw your attention to the results of the wonderful St. Valentines Day Massacre GT. Not for any positive reasons*. Heavens no, haha.

This particular GT is a delightful, real-world rebuttal to one of the links I posted last time. What happened at at this GT was so bad, that I really don't have to do much more than point out the shittyness.

It turns out that not only were the comp guidelines pretty ambiguous to the players, they were also ambiguous to the comp judges... who also played in the fucking event. There were lots of reports of select armies getting ludicrously high comp scores, accusations of retroactive scoring to make the pairing look legit and even an outright admission that ALL Tyranid lists automatically scored low because the book is so new. It gets better: it turns out that not only did the TO himself play, but his 6 ironclad dreadnought list - all in drop pods no less - got a 12 out of 20 for comp. While battelforce Tryanids got a 1. That's not in the least suspicious, right?

What. The. Fuck.

I'm pointing this out for two reasons:

1) It's a hilariously terrible situation I came across when doing some research that didn't pan out.
2) The only thing worse than someone telling you can't play with all your toys beforehand is someone telling you after you show up.

God help you if your definition of 40k is different from the organizers'. In a situation like this, its not so much having your creativity limited, but having it outright punished.

------[Foot Notes]------------------------
*Originally pointed out to the internet by TastyTaste over on Blood of Kittens.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Composition Scoring: More Limiting Than You Think (pt. 1)

A lot of the more competitively minded bloggers out there have discussed the merits of composition scoring as it relates to army building and fostering competitive play... uh... another link*. If you don't feel like clicking/reading on any or all of those links, I'll save you the time:

Composition rules do not foster good competitive play or good army building.

Hell, there's even a guy in the BoK article that holds that comp scoring is bad for his business. Yikes.

Then you have the other side of the argument. There are a lot of people who just plain love the idea of comp scoring in particular and soft scoring in general. Not as many links here, because I hate linking to shit-post after shit-post on various forums. Go read the comment on BoLS or your garbage forum of choice if you need more examples.

The general idea is that comp scoring rewards people who field softer, fluffier armies by punishing the players who take 'harder' lists by denying them complete points in the froufrou that is a comp score. Fairness blah blah blah cookie cutter lists are bad blah blah blah it's more fun blah blah blah balance etc. There's also a very strong fluffy-bunny streak that often runs through this as well. This is all covered ad nauseum in any of the links I've posted.

What I'd really like to pick out of the pro-comp argument is the idea that comp scoring creates an environment where you see many different kinds of armies and units you wouldn't normally see in the WAAC/unfair/boring lists without comp scoring. Often times, comp scores are trotted out because someone feels that players should be able to bring any combination of units and have a reasonable chance of doing well in the tournament. Boiled down even further - the idea is that comp scoring fosters creativity and diversity.

This is complete and utter fucking bullshit.

Composition doesn't do any of that. Just how exactly do restrictions and punitive measures engender creativity and diversity? Oh, that's right, they fucking don't. Last time I checked, being punished for taking more than one of a unit or being outright prohibited from taking others is the exact opposite of a free environment that would do anything positive for creativity and diversity.**

Not only does comp kick competition in the dick, it also puts a boot in the very things that many of it's misguided adherents claim to love - the fluff. That's the sad, sad irony of the situation. You see, it turns out that the people who hold up the fluff as some sort of inviolable sacrament that's under attack by WAAC gamers are some of the the least imaginative douche bags on the planet. Because these scrubs can't or won't conceptualize ideas outside of their shitty little box, everybody else is asked (or flat out told) to suffer.

In future installments, I'm going to explore my ideas and thoughts a little deeper.

---[Foot Notes]--------------------------------------
*Well aware that many of these are from the same site. However, lots of different authors.

**Unless of course you are an unapologetic Soviet censor. In which case the value you place on a free and open environment may be a tad different than mine.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quick Hits - Volume V

1. My good buddy Colin started a new blog. Its called Dick Move. Basically its an outlet for Colin to rage against the stupidity of the internet in his own space... in the least constructive and most hilarious way possible. He's only got three articles up so far, but knowing his level of bile as I do, I can tell you that more is definitely coming.

Now, the real challenge for Colin is to not make his corner of the internet the Bell of Lost Souls is Retarded 90% of the Time: the Blog. So far so good, but the Bell of Lost Souls IS retarded 90% of the time and there have been some absolute gems lately.

2. Speaking of BoLShit, as an Eldar player, I feel I am honor bound to at least mention this... uh... this whatever the hell it is. Total foot Eldar based around the synergy that Eldrad and the Avatar. I am.... unconvinced that this is a good army. Screening units or not, cover saves or not, fearless or not, I've seen what proper mech armies do to troops out in the open. I'm not buying that 4 monstrous creatures and 8oish T3 bodies are gonna carry the day.

Fine, whatever, this guy can have his fun. I've got no problems with that. HOWEVER, there is a ton of dick waiving goin' on. Lots of grandiose statements about his win/lose record, the types of players he faces and his own impeccable pedigree. I don't give a shit about your gaming history, man. Evidence, or this army ain't shit - A battle report with pics would be fantastic.

Well, we'll see what part II has to offer.

3. Looks like I haven't had a serious painting article in a while. It also looks like I've neglected some reader questions as well. Lets fix both.

Revuk writes: He turned out awesome, well done! Any chance you could provide details on this new recipe for white? (in regards to my Autarch).

Pretty easy, actually. It's the same recipe that the 'Eavy metal team used for their Khan masterclass in WD#3XX. I don't have my collection in front of me, so no exact number for you.

You need the following colors: Space Wolves Gray, Graveyard Earth, any white, Charadon granite, Devlan Mud.

You start with a base of 50/50 graveyard earth and space wolves gray and then build up a ton of very thin layers by adding a touch of white each time. Be sure to leave some areas alone so the base color shows through. You cap it off with a few pure white (and, again, thin) layers. The rest of the shading is done with a touch of charadon granite for the deep layers and devlan mud for the rest. Remember, for the shading, just a little bit will go a long way.

Isylfe writes: Do you have a link to a tutorial for that corroded bronze technique? Thabks [sic] (in regards to Project Future Boys).

Yes and no. Here's a link to the dakka post where I found it: GMMStudios Heavy Metal Marines. The orange color is RMS Orange Brown (9201), FYI. So there's a basic overview and some examples here, but not too much in the way of a step-by-step approach. My own approach to the recipe results in a very cartoony/stylized version of the below example (which is not my work).