Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nu Blood Angels Part 5: Franz Liszt? Never Heard of 'em.

For those of you who love of cartoons as much as me, here's the reference from the title: Rhapsody Rabbit.

[Brief Shout Out:] One of the great inspirations for me with this codex was an amazing Baal Predator that was featured in one of GW's daily update things. I was, and still am, very impressed with that particular model. I even tracked down some more pics of it. Easily one of the best tanks I've ever seen.

I like the rules, I like the models and I've practiced with an unnecessarily complicated painting technique for the tanks. So I've even bought and (mostly) assembled a Baal Predator.

Time for some list building with which to guide my painting. Thanks to Raffaele Picca and the new kit, I knew that the list would have Baal Predators with heavy bolter sponsons. Thanks to my own obsession with the idea of Predator spam, there would be three of them and 3 regular predators. And that's about all I knew at first.

First thing I did was start looking for inspiration in the lists other people have published. Kirby published a whole mess of stuff early on that got me thinking. Lots to work with there. TKE has some interesting lists too as well as some extremely useful analysis. But... he's not much of a fun of sponsons on Baals. Stelek has finally started to post some useful stuff as well, but nothing that interests me... yet. Chumby's got some good lists too. The list goes on. Lots of ideas to steal inspiration out there.

So I've got some ideas, time I started noodling around on my own. With the last couple of armies I resolved to build, I simply cribbed lists off of YTTH. At that point I was waaaay out of practice with the game and didn't want to worry about having to fiddle around with army lists in addition to learning the rules again. Now that I've started playing semi-regularly, I've gotten a bit of the old confidence back. Lets spread my wings and see what I can do. Bonus points to me if I can make a list that combines my particular quirks and 'hobby' outlook with effectiveness.

I'm gonna kick this process off by taking stock of the things I really want to take. Which means 3 predators with bolter sponsons right off the bat. There's a lot of debate on how to best use these guys. To me, much of it is largely irrelevant. I like the aesthetic of the Baal with the sponsons and the auto cannons. Not too concerned with much else. So that's 435 points gone. Good thing I like the model.

At this point, the only thing I know for sure is that I will include 3 regular predators and a librarian for the HQ. The Predators being key to my initial draw to the codex. Deathtron and I popped simultaneous boners over the possibility of 6 Predator lists. And the librarian because he's cheap and flexible.

My first list was simply a modification of one of Kirby's lists. I simply replaced the regular dreads with dakka Predators, flushed out an assault squad and then traded their Rhino for a pod. Pretty good, I thought. But not exactly what I'm looking for - it just doesn't feel quite right for me. The fact that the Librarian dreads don't exist yet is huge problem for me - not too interested in spending a boat load of money to convert them (since I could never bring myself to cheapen out). Same problem I have with the Storm Raven. Back to the drawing board.

With another Kirby list in mind, I meandered over to razorback spam. At this point, I was still hanging onto the idea of dakka Preds and ended up with a pretty boring Lazorback spam list. It looked a lot like some of Stelek's critical mass lists and had a ton of HK missiles. There were a few iterations of this as well as one that involved Sanguinary priests and 10 man assault squads in Rhinos. The razoback list actually some discussion with Dethron who wasn't too much of a fan of Razorback spam and then promptly stole my ideas. Haha. I keed, I keed. He improved on the idea considerably as it turned out. I had also lost interest in Razor spam anyway.

By now, the idea of laser sponsons on the regular Predators had taken hold as an option I was open to. Especially after I saw them in action against my Eldar in a Vassal game. Pretty nasty stuff.

Then I happened across a sample army list article over on GW HQ. All three of the lists are pretty assey in my opinion, but it got me thinking about how I could add some uniqueness and a whole mess of Ecstato-Euphoro-Fun (with patented Hinder 90) to the list. Land Raiders! Of Course! I love tanks and I've always had a hankerin' for painting a Land Raider anyway, so its a perfect fit. At least from a hobby standpoint.

The first attempts were pretty shitty attempts at cramming 3 Raiders and 6 Predators into 2000 points. All the list looked really crunchy and only had 3 minimum sized assault squads as troops. I pressed on, mentally prepared myself for the eventuality of having to drop at least one Raider and finally came up with something I'm comfortable sharing with the world.

Ze Liszt:
Librarian - probably with Shield of Sanguinius and Blood Lance

2x 5 man assault squads with one melta
Deditcated Transport: Land Raider Crusader with multi-melta

3x 5 man assault squads with one melta
Dedicated Transport: Razorback with twin-linked heavy flamer

3x Baal Predators with assault cannons and heavy bolter sponsons

3x Predators with autocannon and lascannon sponsons.

2000 points on the nose.

The idea being that I can slowly, but surely, advance on the other guy whilst shooting the shit out of him. Since parts of the army are likely to be grouped up, the librarian can ride in a Raider and use shield for some Safety Dance action. If need be, I can also move pretty quickly too - get in and out of trouble, zoom on objectives or even dick around with the enemy movement via scouting Baals. I feel like this is a pretty good mix of flexibility, speed and 'oh shit'. Oh, and a butt-load of heavy armor. There are a few things I'm unsure of, but that's why I'm posting the list.

So tear it apart, doodz. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nu Blood Angels Part 4: O'Doyle Rules!

Right, so I've looked at about half of the picture in terms of the new Blood Angels codex.  The miniatures are pretty great, so I'm well on my way to being convinced to paint things red.  Now it comes down to the rules.  This is where the rubber hits the road for the models.  Are the rules for the eye candy good enough to allow me to actually make use of the cool models?

For the Blood Angels, this answer is yes.  Of course, they didn't have far to go in that regards.  For me, the rules are important, but not quite as important as the models.  Oh sure, a crappy book can absolutely ruin a good range of miniatures through outright awful rules.* So can simply lagging behind new design trends.  But, I really need to choose an army I actually want to spend time painting.  Take the Eldar, for example.  Sure there are really only one, maybe two (depending on you definitions), competitive builds in their codex - but... fast tanks with a great aesthetic.  Sold. 

Which brings us to the real treat that is the Blood Angels codex.  Not only does it meet my weird expectations, but it exceeds them.  Its a wonderful army book.  Tons of cool toys that are also solid choices, plenty of ways to build in order to be effective and lots of character. I like the models, I like the color red and the rules are great.  Its a win/win/win situation.

The Rules:
I understand that there are people out there who are more qualified to review the Blood Angel units Than I am.  So I won't pretend I'm an analytical genius with an expert tactical acumen.  That's not what people come here for.  I'm pretty sure its the bad jokes, swearing and painting.  In that order.  However, I still want to talk about the rules and the units and why I like them.

Which brings us back to jokes and cuss words.

I'm just gonna shoot out some kind of general reactions here.  I had gotten a fer peice down the road to a unit by unit analysis before I realized that it would be even less fun to read than it was to write it. So I'm just going to take a look at general trends that have gotten me pumped about the new codex rather than waste everyone's time with a piss poor review.  That's what BoLS is for.  Zing!

The Good:  
Descent of Angels:  This is pretty sweet.  Its a very cool ability that really opens up some possibilities for some new kinds of builds and makes the Vanguard Veterans a usable unit. Which is pretty important if/when I decide to jump pack it up.  Double bonus points for that since the Vanguard models are so great. 

Jump Packs Everywhere:  Not really a rule, but very cool. There are just a ton of units that have or can have jump packs.  Combined with Descent of Angles, you can really rock some very fun sounding and cool looking assault armies.  Especially with the Sanguinary guard.  Chumby's got a list up that looks like a ton of fun.  Just wish I could tell if he's serious.  Unfortunately, as cool as DoA and jump packs are, they're edged out in my mind by...

Fast Vehicles:  Awesome!  Almost everything is fast.  18 inch max movement and can still fire everything up to 6 inches.  When I got confirmation that this was true, I immediately smoked a cigarette.  Then I pooped.  For me, this is where it's at.  I love tanks.  Fast tanks in particular.  Though not as fast as my Eldar , the Blood Angels get that crucial ability to move up to 12 inches and still shoot. They also have more than one build and have fewer useless units than the Eldar.  A pretty good trade for 6 inches of movement.

Land Raiders as Dedicated Transports:  This fun fact is only just 'interesting' by itself.  Land Raiders are cool and all, but they're huge point sinks.  Combine the transport option with a jump pack discount and things just got a little bit crazy, though.**  Heavy support or dedicated transport, it all shakes out about the same in terms of how many you can cram in 2000 points:  you can't have as many as you want.  Though the flexibility of being able to take them outside of heavy support is quite nice.

Assault Squads as Troops:  The big thing here is that these guys are just so sick.  Over regular Smurf assault marines, you get the ability to take two kinds of melta weapons, way more transport options and Descent of Angels.  All for the same cost.  The biggest draw for me is the transport discount.  I know a lot of people don't much care for anything resembling Razorback spam for the Blood Angels, but where else are you gonna get this deep a discount on so many fast tanks?  Beyond that, the assault squads have so many options that they really open up the codex to so many opportunities for list building that it's mind blowing.  Which is great for the painting and modeling side of things.  I'm hard pressed to think of any other unit that can be this flexible in terms of list building.

Super Dreadnought Fun:  Have you ever looked at the regular marine codex and thought: "man, six dreadnoughts just isn't enough"?  Well what about being able to take 11?  If your like me, you have a boner for robots right now.  Attention everyone:  do me a solid and don't harsh my buzz with 'facts' and 'logic' about not being able to fit 11 in 2000 points, or not being able to capture objectives or any of that type of crap.  I need this right now.  Just let me pretend for a little while longer.

Predator Spam:  You can take six of them.  SIX, goddamnit!  And they're all fast.  That's so much dakka it should be criminal!  In the spirit of full disclosure, the existence of the Baal Predator is the real reasons I've decided to go with the Blood Angels.  Forget jump packs, feel no pain and librarian dreadnoughts - its Predator tanks first and last.  No matter what happens, the first army I build and paint will have all 6 possible Predators.

The 'Meh'
Feel No Pain Ever Again:  Its all over the place in this codex.  Which is great for jump pack armies and pissing people off in general.  I, for whatever reason, am not that excited.  Don't get me wrong, its a pretty powerful build option and very cool, but the Sanguinary priest models are dull and I'm not all that attracted to the type of army that would best make use of this ability.

Special Characters:  Not really impressed with these guys as a whole.  Though, Dante, at least, screws around with the FOC in a meaningful way so he gets a bye.  There all just so 'over costed with nothing to show for it but a bunch of gimmicky bullshit.  Plus, most of the models are ass.  Which is what kills Mephiston for me (who is otherwise awesome).  I hate hsi model and at 250 points, he becomes a centerpiece.  Not really interested in the Duke of Slappywag being a centerpiece.

Stormravens:  If this had a model at launch, I'd be more pumped.  As it is now , it's just a cool idea.  It doesn't really exist for me.  I'm sure that when the model comes out in 6 months, Ill consider getting three.  But at this point in time, I have no desire to fiddle around with expensive conversions that will be blown out of the water by the actual kit.

Red Thirst:  I actually, really like the idea of this rule - it adds character to the book and is a fun random chance kinda thing.  But...  that's about it.  It's a real 'meh' kinda deal.  Not something you can plan on taking advantage of.  From a fluff perspective, I like it.  Otherwise, I don't care.

A Brief Rant
I've looked at this codex a lot.  I've read all the good analysis about it I could find.  I've even played against it.  While it's certainly excellent, It's not overpowered.  I bring this up solely to bash the guy at the LGS who was bitching about how he didn't like the codex because its too good.  Course he's an Ork player so that might have something to do with it.  Now, this was a conversation held cordially between strangers, so it wasn't all  RAWR!

First, he was mad because of the Storm Ravens.  Then I pointed out that you can only have three and that he should be worried that all the fast vehicles (which are annoying, granted). Then he was mad that marines were faster than his Orks.  Which was "a problem".  Then he started bitching about the Matt Ward as the author of the Fantasy Daemon book.  Apparently Matt Ward made the Chaos Daemons too good in fantasy and, thusly, all his works deserve hate.  


Bah!  I left the store with my purchase knowing that I had met one of those stereotypical complainers that plague the likes of Warseer. 

So that brings me to the end of my feelings on the new codex.  Not particularly logical in a lot of ways or even with a complete attention to competitiveness but that's how I do things.

-----[Foot Notes]-----------------------------------------------------
*cough Dark Angels cough
**Well aware of the 'controversy' over taking Land Raiders as transports for assault marines and so forth, but c'mon:  this is all the proof I need.

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Paint: Revisiting GW

A little over a year ago I did a series on the types of paints that are available to us as hobbyists. Overall, I think it holds up in the face of my experience and I stand by much of what I wrote. However, the section on GW's paints bears some rethinking in the face of a year's worth of use.

Here's the old post for reference purposes: The GW standard.

The post in April was written at the beginning of my WD subscription - a subscription I'd still have if the magazine wasn't 9 fucking dollars an issue.  But that's something to impotently shake my fist at another time.  Where was I?  Oh yeah... while the gaming content of White Dwarf has gone from good to the equivalent of shit in a urinal, the painting articles have gotten really good.  They're actually promoting good techniques & habits as well as publishing how-to's for both the beginner and the expert.  The master class series in particular is extremely good.  The days of pretending that you can achieve smooth blends with dry brushing are over.*

The masterclasses ended up being particularly useful for me.  Even better than the stuff in No Quarter, I'd say.  However, the recipes used were always in terms of Citadel paints.  Dur.  Since color matching across ranges is such a crap shoot (and potentially expensive), I caved in and bought GW paints when I wanted to try a recipe out.  The end result being that I gave them a bit more of a fair shake than I had before.

Now, some new info.  I'll readdress each point from the original post and leave it up to you to read what was already said previously.

1) They dry too fast.  True, but so do the Reaper paints (now that I've used them quite a bit as well).  Acrylic paints dry quickly, its a given.  Nothing to do but thin your paints.  A wet pallet goes a long way towards extending the working times of mixed paints.  But that's another article for another rainy day.  In any case, that's one point I've softened on.

2) Consistency between colors is very spotty.  Absolutely.  But I'd like to be fair and say that I'm not just judging this on a handful of the lighter shades of colors. Or, the colors which tend to have poor coverage across all ranges.  Even some of the darker and mid tone colors just will not cover an area.

3) The containers suck.  Yep.  Still true.  Very bad for the paint and very bad for you in terms of expense, paint quality and consistency of coverage.  Now that a year has gone by I've noticed that all of the jars I stick models to are old GW pots.  More than one of them half full.

4) They keep changing the line.  I actually haven't noticed a problem with this over the last year.  But if you extend that time line out to two years, you run smack dab into the replacement of the inks with the new washes.

5) The Foundation paints... 

The real motivator behind this little look back.
When I first wrote part one of the On Paint series, it was before I had any significant experience with the Foundation line.  I had fiddled with a couple colors using my airbrush and that's about it.  Now that I've purchased a few and used them with an actual brush, a much more solid opinion has formed.

I hate the Foundation paints.  I think they are absolute garbage.  They are poorly made and promote extremely bad painting habits. 

The biggest problem is that they dry too fast.  Even faster than the regular Citadel range.  There is absolutely no working time with them.  Hell, the paint actually starts to get noticeably thicker if you leave the pot open over the course of a quick painting session.  Not even a wet pallet will keep it wet enough to stay workable with any regularity.  Forget about blending or even smoothing out streaks.  By itself, this wouldn't be so bad (you could almost work around it) except for the fact that the paints are almost a maple syrup consistency.  Seriously, I'm not using hyperbole on that one.  So the paint will go on in globs and then dry in the blink of an eye.  Bad, bad, bad.  The only thing you can do is throw a lot of thinning medium (not water) with a drying retarder at it and pray.

Then you get to the container.  By itself, its not so bad.  Its one of the slimmer pots that behave much in the same way as the P3 containers and goes a long way towards addressing my complaint about the regular Citadel pot.  The lid has a much beefier hinge as well so its not prone to breakage.

However, all that goopy, quick drying paint tends to run into the hinge and then squish out when you close it. Which can be kind of a nightmare because of how heavily pigmented the paint is.  Also, as little air is in the new pot, the Foundry paint still dries out quicker than old women in Florida.  I bought one a couple of days ago that had begun to turn to paste on the store's shelves before I had even purchased it.

[Pro-tip]:  always open a pot of Foundation paint to check its freshness.

There's also the issue of how pigmented the paints are.  Its great from a coverage standpoint, but it can be kinda irritating when mixing since the Foundation paint tends to overpower all other brands.  I'm not prepared to make this a negative feature of the line, just something to be aware of.

Which brings us to those bad habits.  Here's the sales lingo from the GW site:

Specially formulated to complement the existing Citadel Colour and Citadel Washes ranges, the Foundation Paints have been designed to provide great coverage, creating a solid block of colour with one application over any undercoat

So not only is the paint garbage, but GW isn't promoting good practice.  Ask any good mini painter** about what you should do with your paints and they'll tell you to thin them.  Use multiple thin coats to get smooth, even coverage.  How exactly does 'one application over any undercoat' of an an unnecessarily thick paint with a split second drying time fit in with that? All the Foundation line is doing is promoting lazy and sub standard painting. Especially since the paint gets significantly worse in quality over time.

Look, I know that multiple thin coats can be a pain in the ass.  But globbing paint on like a girl just learning how to use nail polish is not a solution. 

Ultimately, the idea behind the Foundation line is inherently flawed as it is aimed at poor practice and combines all of the worst paint qualities to get there.

Final Thoughts:
Ultimately, I'm still not a fan of the majority of the paints GW produces.  However, they aren't that bad.  In fact, most of my dislike stems from the fact that the paints dry out like crazy.  I have some original Citadel paints from 10+ years ago that are still good.  Then we get this crappy revamped in-house formula and I can't keep paint usable past 6 months in some cases. 

That being said, when fresh the paint behaves very well.  The Citadel paints are also compatible with the Tamiya acrylic thinner (which is more than I can say for Vallejo) and great for airbrushing.  They also thin well which is another thing in their favor.  Bottom line: don't be afraid to use the most easily obtainable paint in our hobby - especially if you have a recipe that calls for it as there are almost no substitutes.+

Then you have the foundation paints.  Simply awful.  I can only recommend you use these in two situations:

1) if you absolutely need one of the colors and are prepared to dick around with thinners to an extent you are more than likely mentally unprepared for.

2) You plan on using them with an airbrush.  Because in all fairness, once you thin Foundation paints for airbrushing, they're golden.

-----[Foot Notes]--------------------------------------------
*Seriously, back in the day, all of the painting articles only ever suggested dry brushing as a technique.  For the life of me, my 15 year old ass could never figure out how they got dry brushing to look so good.  Thinking back, it was lies.  GW had a tendency to gloss over the skill required to get 'Eavy Metal results.
**That's painters of miniatures, not small painters.
+The Vallejo game color range is not completely equivalent.  There are often subtle differences that make a huge difference for mixing and color selection.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nu Blood Angels Part 3: Looking At Me Looking At You

5th edition has really shaped up to be a good time to play 40k.  The rules are tighter, the models better and GW seems to know where it's going as a company for the first time.  GW has really stepped up their game. In particular, I have been thoroughly impressed in terms of their model releases.  Ever since the marine codex, GW has really swung into high gear.

They creating some amazing new kits that have really pushed the envelope pretty hard in terms of design and quality. They're also making a conscious decision to 86 old metal shit whenever they can.  Which is fucking great, I have to say.  Not much is worse than having to spend scads of money on the same 3 metal troopers over and over again or having to deal with the horror that is the assembly of the metal/plastic hybrid vehicles.  The plastic kits also tend to come with actual extra parts, so its good for the bits box too. 

Complain all you want about them not releasing whatever hot toy you wanted, but the fact that they're actually committed to improving the product range is a nice change. [golf clap]

The Re-releases:
AKA: the stuff that was too bad to continue producing so we were forced to redo it to make sure people actually buy it.  This category usually consists of metal/platic hybrids that are hard to assemble with any efficacy, single models that remind everyone how lame GW's sculpting in the early to mid 90's could be and various other kits that look increasingly less like GW's current (and solid) design language.  This category of new stuff tends to be the better of the two halves overall due to a favorable comparisons with old stuff and the fact that its usually core selections.

Lemartes, Guardian of the Lost:  New Lemartes is is way better than the last incarnation. Just look at the old one. I have always hated this model.  I vaguely remember seeing this guy when I was a lad and thinking how garbage it was.  The doofy wand, the awful skull head (whose side are you on, buddy?) and the super-sized crux terminatus - just terrible. He looks kinda like a Scooby Doo villain.

New Lemartes is a stone-cold pimp, though. The model is everything the old one was not - tough, mean, beefy and something you'd actually want to spend money on.  Its almost like Larmetes spontaneously started existing and then came back in time to personally threaten the sculptor to make sure he looked boss.  Well done.

Death Company:  Another great kit.  Unlike Lemartes, the old Death Guard were pretty decent.  However, they were still metal - static, boring in large numbers, heavy and expensive.  Don't get me wrong, I prefer metal for painting (when thinking strictly about painting).  However, when it comes to actually wanting to field an army, plastic just can't be beat.  Plastic is easier to transport, easier to modify, cheaper and often comes with something metal models rarely get - options.  The options being the real strength of this kit. The models themselves look great but, after all,  they're just space marines.  Its all the Blood Angels themed parts, the jump packs and the special weapons that make this kit so good.  My only complaint is that some of the helmets look really, really, really dumb.

Baal Predator:  I love this model more than I could love a human baby.  For serious.  While Seth got me thinking about Blood Angels, this kit actually got me to spend money. For many, it may just be another tank, but for me - an avid tread head - its a real treat*.  First up, this kit is a much needed replacement to the dodgy metal and plastic hybrid.  In the past, GW's choice had been to make new vehicle kits by adding metal bits packs to a standard set of frames.  I don't know if this was a cost saving measure or not (plastic sprue molds are expensive to make), but it sucked total dick.  And not in the good way - like when two consenting adults enjoy each other's company as part of a healthy and loving relationship.  No.  The bits-pack method is a lot more rapey, coerced and awkward.

Right, so the Baal is a pretty cool kit - lots of parts to make it look different than the original predator, a ton of optional parts and a wonderful ease of construction**.  I even think its possible to magnetize the turret weapon if you work at it.  My only complaint is how dated the Baal makes the regular predator look.

-----[Foot Notes]--------------------------------------------
*Feel free to read this part of the article aloud in your best Jeremy Clarkson voice.
**first hand knowledge since I own one and have worked on it a bit,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nu Blood Angels Part 2: The Hairy Eyeball

Since I don't have the pleasure of being in a position where I get to sign NDAs, the first real taste of any new army book is the models.  Sure there are the rumors and the occasional leaked page, but its hard to get any kind if idea about how things are actually gonna be.  Its hard to even separate the crap from the outright falsehoods.  For me, the book doesn't start to become real until those first few photos of the actual models show up.  That's when I have something tangible and concrete to wrap my brain around.

For most of us, the models are a big part of the army.  Sure, the quality of the rules is a factor but if we don't like the models, then there's no chance for the army.  Which brings me to the first thing that grabbed me about the Blood Angels - the model range.

Like every other army book, the Blood Angels codex was accompanied by some very cool new models... and some ones that I find crappy.  Since this is usually what the focus of the first few weeks prior to a release rests on, I figured I'd start here.  Plus, the new releases are the kind of thing that gets me thinking the most about a new army.

The New Stuff:
These are the thing that no one has seen until now - no re-releases or remakes here. Just the new hotness.  Of course GW will also be using these to get the people who already play Blood Angels to buy some more models.  Once the the new stuff makes itself known, its one of the first opportunities we have to figure out what's going on with the character and nature of the book.  In this case, the new book seemed to be more concerned with wings and ribbons than past iterations but, overall, was way more badass.

The Sanguinor, Exemplar of the Host:  Kind of a bummer to open up with a model I don't like, but such is life.  I like the idea of muscles sculpted on armor, but this is just a bit too much.  Add in the hair and the face, this guy looks like some kind of freakish, metal Fabio.  A better pose would go a long way towards making this model pop and keeping the pretty pretty princess vibe at arms length.  Unfortunately, we're stuck with the Passion of the Christ.  Not much getting the brain juices flowing here.  Kind if anti-pumped at this point.

Astorath the Grim:  Ah, much better, but being cooler than Sanguinor isn't a good benchmark.  It's like being better looking than an Gerard Depardieu.  However, I do kinda like Astorath...  I'm just not in like with him.  The action pose goes a long way to making this guy look cool and he manages to pull off the trailing scrolls effect much better than space Jesus up there.   However, with the face and the ribbed armor, Astorath is straight outta the Gary Oldman Dracula film.  He seems like he'd be more at home in a Vampire Counts army.*  Astorath also kicks off the Blood Angel's penchant for luxurious hair.  Paul Mitchell would be proud.  Blech.  I'm not 100% or even 65% sold on Astorath, but at least its an interesting model on some level.

Chapter Master Gabriel Seth:  Yes! We're in business.  A big hulking dude with a giant clever and a murderous expression.   Its a simple (relatively speaking) and clean model with a solid action pose. I really feel like this model captures the essence of the new codex better than all the baroque craziness of some of the other stuff**.  What with all the hand to hand combat and berserk rage and all.  Never mind the fact that he looks suspiciously like Kor’sarro Khan.  Seth also got me thinking about how awesome the Flesh Tearers' logo is.  Its a fucking buzzsaw!  How freaking cool is that?!  Its a symbol with no pretense - it just says "watch out, 'cause we're probably gonna cut you (bitch)".  Still not convinced that I won't be playing as Flesh Tearers over the Blood Angels. I'll also go ahead and admit that this was the model that got me started thinking down the Blood Angel path.  

Sanguinary Guard:   These guys are what the Sanguinor should have been.  Overwrought and gaudy? Yes.  However, they manage to pull it off because they still look like marines rather than St. Celestine Mk II up there.  Another solid offering for the Blood Angels.  I have to admit - at first glance, I wasn't really impressed with these guys and kind of gave them a mental pass.  Now that I'm giving them a good look in the name of science, I'm actually quite impressed.  Lots of options for customization, the wing packs are pretty neat and options the kit gives you for kit bashing are incredible.  My only complaints are the terribad hair on the sergeant and the death masks.  Other than that, a completely cool kit.  Gonna have to let the Dante wing idea run around in my mind a bit based on this second look.

Vanguard Veteran Sergeant and Sanguinary Priest:  They're direct order only and boring.  I just can't force myself to give a shit or review them past these two sentences.  Actually... no.  I guess it's worth mentioning that the sergeant has the worst head I've ever seen modeled on a miniature and continues the proud Blood Angel tradition of amazing hair.  Seriously, its like the Blood Angels allowed a retarded cave man to suit up.  Other  than that, the two models are plain, unremarkable and needlessly expensive.

Since this post ended up being a giant wall of text, I've broken it up into two parts.  Next up is all the re-releases, so keep your crank turned to Frank.

-----[Foot Notes]-------------------------------
* Dear Vampire Counts players:  You're welcome.
**If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it! Bwahahahaha!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nu Blood Angels Part 1: Vampires Are Awesome Again

Gah!  I've been stuck on the composition series for over two weeks now and I've rewritten the damn thing around threeve times at this point.  I know what I want to say, I just can't inject any passion in it.  Blindfolds, scented oils, feathers, tazers... no matter what I try it just lies there like a piece of bib lettuce.

After some sagely advice from Dethtron, I've decided to stop bashing my head into the damn thing and produce some content.

Lets talk about something else... something new... something groundbreaking and fresh...  I know!


Shit.  That's not any of the things I mentioned.  Its been out for like 2 weeks and people have been going apeshit over the little red guys since before the book even came out.  However, using the blink tag is pretty great.  Its like I'm actively trying to punish you for reading my blog.  Haha, fuck your eyes!*

I think the joke needs to be explained to IE users:  the red text is blinking.

Back to the blinking, red topic.  The general consensus is that the codex is FREAKING AWESOME!  I've seen way more creamed jeans over the new Blood Angels than the Space Wolves ever had.  Tons and tons of blog posts and community reactions - almost all of it positive.  Of course, I could just be projecting my own pumped-up-itudeness.  I mean, I'M pretty pumped about the new codex.  But I just have this sense that the Blood Angels have really managed to grab people's excitement in a larger way.  I dunno if its the fact that they've never had what I consider a real** codex until now or the fact that they had received part of the same face-raping that the Dark Angels got in 4th edition or even if its something about the color red.  And that's not even getting into the rules and the writing or even the general popularity the Blood Angels in the past.  In any case, I think the enthusiasm is a bit high.  However, I am totes fine with that.

A Note On Vampires
I would be remiss in my duties as a totally unbiased and rational blogger if I didn't talk about the vampire subtext of the Blood Angels.  I'm just gonna come right out and say that it's awesome.  Not because it's well written or clever or a tragic flaw blah blah blah but because it means that there are some actually cool vampires out there.

When I was a lad, I was growing up during the wussification of the vampire myth.  Due to the efforts of Ann Rice's Vampire Chronicles, White Wolf games and the goth subculture, vampires went from scary, monstrous horrors to whiny, ennui-laden poseurs who spent all their time bitching about the curse of undeath and doing their best to be twats.  Goddamn 1990's.  Oh sure, there were some attempts to make vampires cool or scary, but even then the idea of vampires as sex-obsessed, 'complicated' super-douche hipsters always bleeds through. 

As awful as Vampire: the Masquerade was for the idea of the vampires, things have gotten even worse now that Stephanie Meyer managed to crap out the Twilight series.  Vampires just aren't interesting or even scary anymore.  Then along came the new Blood Angels codex.  I know the red-thirst/black-rage motif isn't a new thing with them, but it's much needed right now.  Vampires are back to being bad-ass killing machines again - at least in a small way.  These new vampires have all kinds of sweet equipment, they drive tanks and, most importantly, they kill people again.  Maybe that's why people are pumped about Blood Angels.

Though they're still a bit too pretty.

------[Foot Notes]----------------------------------------------------
*This eye raping brought to you courtesy of GeoCities, the 90's and Bad Web Design(tm).
**Angels of Death (2e) was a split with the Dark Angels, the 3e book was one of the standard 8 page abortions of the era and the 4e codex was printed in two editions of WD.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Distractions 1

Last time I checked, this was supposed to be a hobby blog (in addition to other things).

Here are some pics of the Trygon I got for my birthday in February.

the only real reason I got the Trygon is because the model was so cool. Its been a while since if gotten a model just to paint. really helped break up some of the boredom I've been feeling with the Eldar.

Painting this thing was a blast. Its actually a pretty simple process once you get into it. Despite all the detail, there isn't to much you gave to pick out. It was nice to have a reason to play with the Necrotales streak painting method. Also gave me a chance to practice with a new airbrush I got at around the same time. Notice the stolen Legion of Everblight scheme. With the exception of the red claws and a couple of color substitutions, it follows the recipe from Hordes: Evolution. I toned down the brown/black scales quite a bit. While I think a more contrasting and vivid carapace color could work (and work well), I decided to stick with my preferences for a more subtle color. The pics don't do it enough justice.

Assembling this thing was fun too. The kit goes together very easily and some exceedingly clever part constriction keeps nasty mold lines and hard to deal with seams to a minimum. Though you do have to be careful with the vents and the parallel seams on the main carapace area. Spending extra time there is well worth your trouble since the area is so large and will so easily spoil the model.

So there ya go - a finished monster. Fun to build fun to paint and awesome looking. About the only complaint I have is that the kit is so well made that it was making my girlfriend's stomach turn.

Still haven't decided if I'm gonna start a Tyranid MC list. Lets see what happens if and when i get my hands on a couple of Hive Guard.

[edit]. Anther first for me - snow bases. got a hold of a shaker of Woodland Scenics snow. I think i still need some practice with my technique, but still a solid result.