May 232014
 

Here’s a guy I’ve previously owned, sold, bought again and now finally painted! Commander Skroob is the man in charge of the Empire colony on McKemmler IV and also chief of police in the settlement New Haigts. In this picture he’s accompanied by two Automated Sentient Officers of Law Enforcement, android police manufactured by ArmaSec. Virtually indestructable to anything less than assault weapons, the ASOLEs are armed only with stun-sticks and a short temper. They patrol the streets of the settlements as peace keepers, processing misdemeanors on the spot.

I’m surrounded by Automated Sentient Officers of Law Enforcement!

Skroob is a Metal Magic Spacelords C3706b Trader With Cape, while the ASOLEs are starship crew Security Officers C3720e and C3720f. They were all sculpted by Josef Ochmann and released in the early 90s. Skroob is available from EM4 but seems to have been out of stock for the last few years. If you want one, prod Doug about it and maybe he’ll bring more minis from this great range in production again.

Why didn’t somebody tell me my ass was so big?

 

I used varnish as an effect for the first time, giving the helmets and armour parts a glossy finish. Worked out alright, I suppose. Oh well, now they’re painted and ready for a game! The photos ate pretty much all attempts at highlighting the black, and the gloss now only looks like a crap varnish. Still, they look kinda cool together and I like them quite a bit even if they all have sausage fingers.

Citizen, pick that up! You have fifteen seconds to comply!

May 212014
 

Here’s a not-so-short brief of how I’m imagining the galaxy in the world I’m setting my games and scenarios. Heavily based on that of early Warhammer 40K, I’ve added and removed as I saw fit. It probably does not make sense from any perspective at all – but I’m just pulling a skeleton back-story together so any and all players have a common idea of the background for the scenarios.

The Empire of Earth
After millennia of total war, the galaxy is more or less at peace in the 41th millennium. Mankind lives in relative stability with xeno races, often sharing systems and sometimes even planets, with the squat, eldar and ork races. The behemoth theocracy of the Imperium have crumbled, and the imperial army have been decimated as the major warp gates imploded during the last great wars with the forces of chaos. Humanity is united under the banner of the Empire of Earth, but the god-emperor is no more. The main challenge for the imperial administration is to keep the large and powerful corporations in check and to maintain diplomatic relations with the xenomorph races (xenos).

Core system Empire city

More Empire city.

Only the core systems are under direct administration of the Empire. The rest of the galaxy is sublet to vassal corporations, much like feudal Europe. The armed forces of the Empire consists of the Imperial Guard, the Imperial Navy, Adeptus Mechanicus and the Inquisitorial Diplomats. The old Emperor is still worshipped as a prophet and avatar of God, but the imperial church have undergone a cathartic reform. It is a monotheistic state church of the Empire, but the Empire as a state is now a secularized republic. The name “Empire” is more symbolic than anything, indicating the far reaches of the Empire rather than a political system.

You know the drill by now. Empire. City. Thing…

Yup. More core system city scapes.

 

The Imperial Guard is usually deployed to systems where a large presence is needed over a longer time. A bit like the UN armed forces of today, they’re mainly used for peace keeping. It consists of mechanised infantry with heavy weapon support, but also various elite or specialist squads and regiments. These regiments often contain xenomorph races, such as beastmen, ratlings or squats. Less common are regiments of eldar or orks, but they do exist.

Imperial guardsmen manning an outpost on Aridid Minor, a core system planet plagued by Genestealer cults.

The Imperial Navy consists of two branches; the space fleet and the imperial marine forces. The majority of large scale armed conflicts and wars are resolved with the help of the imperial fleet either in space combat or by means of weapons of mass destruction. Military doctrine have changed, so no longer are massive wars fought planet-side with thousands of troopers charging at each other. Instead, either a system is purged from orbit or tactical nukes and small strike teams of space marines are used. With such a reality, all-out wars are not started lightly and this balance of terror is one of the contributing factors to the current stability in the galaxy.

Smaller ships like these are often used for in-system travel.

 

The Adeptus Mechanicus are based on Mars, from where they scour the galaxy for long lost relics and old technology. Their focus lies on improvement of current technology and new inventions. They have changed into a fully atheist organization and the old ways of worshipping the machine god are gone. They rely heavily on using automatons such as servo skulls and servitors as well as personal cybernetic augmentations. Remnants of the old ways remain in the form of deviant cults, still worshipping the god in the machine. This sometimes lead to internal, ocassionally even armed, conflict.

Brother of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Renegade cultists.

Adeptus Mechanicus with marine bodyguards.

Gun servitor, shambling and/or shuffling.

 

The Inquisition, in the now secular republic, have pretty much lost it’s power. Their main purpose is to aid the Ad Mech in exploratory missions, or to participate in diplomatic missions involving iso-worlds (renegade worlds refusing the Empire, living in the old ways of the Emperor) or xenos.

Inquisitorial transport preparing to drop off a “diplomatic party”.

Inquisitor Sokil Su caught off-guard by an Eldar negotiator.

 

A perilous galaxy
Of course, the galaxy is still a dangerous place. Tyranid hive fleets roam the universe, pirates and privateers harass trade routes, the taint of chaos pours from lesser gates and temporary dimensional rifts. Genestealer cults occassionally surfaces on remote outposts and colonies, and every so often new intelligent life-forms are encountered. Mutant raiders and zealous followers of the Imperium of Old are other factions constantly causing the “new” Empire troubles, especially on the aforementioned colonies.

Eldar pirates in combat.

An imperial outpost over-run by Tyranid.

 

These colonies are usually rather small frontier towns or settlements. Sometimes a colony will grow into a huge metropolis, but that’s rare. Usually a colonized system will consist of a handfull settlements with a few thousand Imperial citizens in each. Indigenous species are mostly left alone, as the Empire or corps normally only colonizes a system to exploit natural resources.

A mercenary on a iso-world colony

Shuttle dusting off from a colony on a fringe system.

Remote mining colony

On many colonized systems the base technology level is fairly low, with higher tech mixed in.

 

Corporations in the Empire
Huge vassal corporations (simply called corps or vassals) rule over planets or systems with absolute control. The Empire has little to no control over the vassal systems. Imperial policies and regulations are usually followed, but ignored when convenient. The Empire rarely enforces law forcefully, but it happens. Most of the time, corps get away with a (big) fine and a slap on the wrist, as the Empire can’t afford the enmity of trade federations and corporate cartels. Corporations work together to maintain trade stability, but the alliances are fragile. Lesser wars fought between rival corps are commonplace. Each corporation have their own standing armies or employ mercenary forces.

Sigma Corp troops regrouping

 

Funnily enough, long after I had drafted this post, I discovered that Space Cow Smith had written a much more thorough and comprehensive series of articles on pretty much the same subject as this. They align pretty well with my over-all vision (wow, delusions of grandeur much?) and idea so here’s a linkydink:
http://talesfromfarpoint.blogspot.se/2014/04/the-state-of-imperium-part-1.html
http://talesfromfarpoint.blogspot.se/2014/05/state-of-imperium-part-2.html
http://talesfromfarpoint.blogspot.se/2014/05/the-state-of-imperium-part-3.html

 

May 182014
 

Meet Paulie, a small-time crook gone big-time over night. Papers is currently based on McKemmler IV, where he’s been mixing it up with ArmaSec agents. Wanted by the Empire for data theft and various other cyber crimes, a bounty have been issued on him. The big question is, can he count on his newfound friends in ArmaSec to bail him out if he gets caught? Probably not…

Paulie Papers, planning capers.

This is a Metal Magic Spacelords C3706c Civilian Carrying Documents. Sculpted by Josef Ochmann and released in the early 90s, he’s still in production and available from EM4 Miniatures for a measly £1.50 at the time of writing. Go get one!

This marks a special occasion by the way. Not only is this the first painted miniature I’m posting this year, it is also the first painted miniature for my scifi project. Oh joy! If you think I’ve downgraded the backgrounds a bit you’re absolutely right. In my constant strife to optimize the process I’ve done several changes to my regular approach to miniature painting (and posting). First of all, I’ve tried to keep as limited a palette as possible. My main source of inspiration is 80s comics. Secondly, I’m doing no blending or serious highlighting or shading. Basecoat, wash, basecoat, highlight. That’s it. I’ve also omitted the scatter or static grass on the base as I’m not 100% certain how I’ll base these models. I want them to be able to share monsters and creatures with my fantasy models, so I’m going for a similar basing style. I might end up putting static grass on these too, or some other ground scatter. The jury is still out. Furthermore, I won’t do scenic shots of the models I post as my main purpose with posting this is to get an online reference and documentation on what I’m painting. Every now and then I might do “specials” with groups of minis, but for now – white backgrounds will have to suffice. This to reduce the setup time and general faffing about with the photos.

Finally, I won’t do detailed write-ups or come up with personalities for EVERY miniature. If I have something, I will post it of course – but I won’t force it.

PS. Collaborative credit to Paul over at sho3box who inadvertently helped me name this guy when we were discussing it and the alliterative naming method Stan Lee has employed. A bit geek, yes.

May 132014
 

I’ve been longing to do science fiction gaming for a long time… a long, long time. However, I haven’t been able to decide on what type of scifi I’m after. I’m equally attracted to Star Wars style swashbuckling, Star Trek-like away team in 60s tv-show action, hard scifi “future modern” warfare, Warhammer 40K space fantasy and Mutant Chronicles mega corporation mercenary fighting. About the only scifi gaming genres I’m not keen on is spaceship combat, really.

The stuff I’m hoping to be painting for the next little while (ie few years). In the bags are a bunch of the earliest Orks (and in the small bag a few Battleclones from Spacelords). It’s a nice mix of old and new.

So, after some introspective soul-searching I came to the conclusion that I want mostly 40K. Mostly. No Dark Eldar, no Necron, no Tau. No “only war” stuff. In the grim darkness of my future, there is some war – but mostly every-day business, wheelings and dealings, schemes and plots. So the main conflict of Emperor vs Chaos must go. Come to think of it, so must the space marines. “WHAT?!” I hear you say. Yeah, no space marine chapters such as they are in 40K. No emperor and no heresy. In fact, no Horus either. Screw all that! I’ll have power armoured elite troopers (ie space marines), some will be organized in chapters (but no Blood Angels, Space Wolves or Ultramarines). I’ll pick a few chapters I think are cool (that means, chapters which colour schemes I like the look of – I don’t know enough background fluff). Those are in, the rest are out. Never existed. Or maybe they did, aeons ago. It’s not really important.

What I’m currently painting.

What I’m aiming for is adventure gaming with the pathetic aesthetics ever present. Main focus will be on 28mm skirmishes using 10-30 miniatures, mainly older sci-fi stuff such as the initial releases for Rogue Trader (up to and including some early 90s stuff), Hobby Products fantastic Space Lords range and Alternative Armies very nice (and old but rechristened) Ion Age range. It has Bob Olley sculpts! I’m not sure what rule system to use here either. Most likely something a bit more accessible than Rogue Trader, such as Savage Worlds Showdown or Pulp Alley.

Here are a few sources of inspiration that I’m drawing heavily from:

Docking Bay 94, Mos Eisley and Tatooine in general. Nice, grubby and lived-in look.

 

Hunters 2 for the iPad and iPhone. Even though you only see a top down view, both troopers and environments are hugely inspiring to me for some reason.

 

Fun 40K! Pic nicked from Jonas’ Death World Adventures. Click the pic to check out his battle report.

 

Firefly, cause it’s a pretty decent space western!

 

2000AD.

 

More 2000AD (I even have a Sam Slade mini ready for paint).

 

Seriously… 2000AD! Almost anything will fit nicely into “my” universe. Strontium dogs, rogue troopers and robo-hunters sound exactly like the type of thing I want. Judges, not so much. It’s too recognizeable (though that could be argued about Johnny Alpha too) and contained within it’s own story. I’ll nab some ideas about mutants, the cursed earth and the dark humour from Dredd though.

 

And here are a few things I’m avoiding completely:

Boring, stupid 40K. This is the image taken from the English wikipedia article on 40K. I shitte thee notte! Marvel at the colourful scenery and well painted miniatures!

 

Dark Eldar

 

Grimdarkonlywaryawn!

 

Squat bikers. Regular space suit and pirate squats, yes! Long haired with bandanas and vests, NO!

 

Arm-flailing retro robots of the 50’s futuuuuure. No thanks. You guys are fun in other contexts.

 

Chaos Space Marines as such. They’re just too big, too bad and too obvious. Not really fun bad-guys. There’s something about this image though… something about the over-the-top daftness is alluring. If I end up using chaos marines, I’ll make sure to not take them seriously! How could anyone take these guys seriously though? Their flamers have “pointy tiff”!

 

Next, something properly painted on this blog – for the first time this year! You jokers in the back muttering “for the first time ever, more like” – don’t think I don’t hear you! Also a more detailed campaign background, to prime my poor uneducated friends who couldn’t tell the difference between a hormagant and a carnifex. Noobs.

May 102014
 

Haven’t been posting in a while, as I have been neither gaming nor painting much. Enough of the apologist crap though, this is mainly a hobby blog and not a “sorry I haven’t been updating” type of blog.

The reason I’ve awakened from my slumber is that Steve (aka Thantsants) over at Somewhere the Tea’s Getting Cold have given me one of those dreadful chain-award things. That said, I do enjoy talking about myself. It’s one of few topics I’m a world leading authority on so it stands to reason I’m pretty into it.

A part of accepting a Liebster is to state eleven truths about one self. Here are mine.

Truth #1
I hate it when people say things like “The proof is in the pudding” or “Without further adieu”. The proof of the pudding is in the EATING, not in the pudding. Dolts.

Truth #2
I dislike club gaming and gaming clubs. I prefer to play games with people I enjoy hanging out with to begin with. If the only mutual interest is the game we play then I’m not interested. I’ve had too many unenjoyable club games with munchkins only interested in winning. That being said, I’ve made some good friends through gaming too – so it’s not all bad.

Truth #3
I love my family more than anything and would not spend a minute with this hobby unless my wife approved. Which she does, begrudgingly, as she knows I would go nuts if I didn’t do it. What she might not know is that I would go even nutser (yes) if I didn’t get to hang around with her and my son on a daily basis.

Truth #4
I thoroghly enjoy a good cigar and have a nice table humidor and a large storage humidor in which I keep my stock of about 200 cigars. Not much by geek standards, but I never went full cigar geek. It is however a very enjoyable past-time, to sit down outside on the patio in the sun for an hour or so to have a good smoke. Preferrably accompanied by a good book.

Truth #5
I trained to be a chef, but after I graduated from school I went right back in and studied informatics (that’s IT stuff) for five years. After that I’ve been working as a test- and automation specialist in software development for nearly 14 years and last year I started Neodev, a joint venture with a few colleagues. We’re a consultancy firm specializing in developing automated test frame works and tools. I’ve been with the same client since the start.

Truth #6
For my cousin’s stag party kidnapping part, I dressed up in a pink morph-suit to portray the evil mastermind Doctor Losernoob.

Truth #7
I used to be a dog person, but have since become a cat kook. Low-maintenance pets with a high yield of affection. I don’t want an animal constantly bugging me for attention. Cats fit the bill well and our cat Vizky is just right for us. I can’t imagine me ever getting a dog again, I’m mostly annoyed by dogs nowadays.

Truth #8
I have a rather hefty CD collection with over 1000 titles. I never listen to them and it saddens me. I love electronic music more than any other type, but hiphop almost as much. Stuff like The KLF, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Nitzer Ebb, The Shamen, The Orb, Underworld make up a sizeable part of my CD collection. More recent discoveries include Glitch Mob, Evil 9 or Dilemn. I’ll leave you with three links to playlists on Spotify, where I’ve put together 100 songs from 100 artists. One genre-less, one hiphop and one with “synth” which would be the Swedish term for anything from 80s new romantic to industrial via hipster electronica.
100 från 100 – Hiphop
100 från 100 – Synth
100 från 100

Truth #9
I’m an avid buyer of comics and recently shifted to digital comics via Marvel’s rather brilliant digital service. I share an account with my cousin and we’ve been buying quite a lot of comics over the past two years. Digital comics are great for discovering new stuff and amongst my favourites over the last year have been the Siege cross-over, Avengers Academy, Moon Knight by Bendis and Hawkeye’s solo book. The greatest disappointments were Avengers vs X-Men and Age of Ultron. No surprises there though, cross-overs are usually rather dull affairs with little to no lasting effect. I’m in the final few issues of Superior Spider-man and have enjoyed it a lot more than I initially expected, given the rather silly premise. I can also report (happily) that the interest for Spider-man and superheroes in general has been inherited by my son.

Truth #10
I’m one of the luddites who still buy  movies on physical media. I can’t say why, but I find the experience superior to watching streamed or downloaded movies. I’m currently setting up a room in our basement to serve as a combined home cinema and play room for the kids, renovating it from ground up. So far, walls and ceiling are done and the rest remains to be finished. Then I can start buying furniture and tech, the fun parts!

Truth #11
I have never in my life owned a fully painted Warhammer army of any kind. I even struggle finishing Blood Bowl teams (16 players). I should really try to lower my bar for when a model is finished and good to go for gaming. In an attempt to do that, I try to finish the basing before I’m done with a mini. That way, I can say “Enough!” earlier as the base helps to lift the general appearance of the miniature.

 

After the truths, it is now time to answer the eleven questions Thantsants asked:

Q: What’s your favourite Warhammer (or other) rules set and why?
A: It’s a bit of a tie, really. As far as Warhammer go, I’d have to say 4th edition. This on the merit that it’s the only edition I have ever really played. I’m probably one of the least ‘hammery chaps on the Oldhammer forum. Instead, my favourite rule set have to be Song of Blades & Heroes. It’s a waning love though, I’m looking to replace it and by the look of things it will most likely be Pulp Alley. My favourite GW game is Blood Bowl, with Space Hulk coming in a close second.

Q: What provisions have you made for your lead pile in your will (if any)?
A: None. I do hope my son would be ready and able to continue the tradition, but if he has zero interest I might arrange for something. I’ll leave my Hagar Sheol to Thantsants though. ;)

Q: What’s your greatest wargaming bargain/trade/acquisition?
A: That’s a tough one. The one that springs to mind was when I found a pile of old Swedish RPG books in an antiques shop, selling for 15SEK (about £1.50). I bought them and sold them on, for a total of around £150. The most satisfying acquisition was probably when Michael Immig recently gave me a limited edition Guard of the Citadel (rare Metal Magic piece) as a sweetener in a trade where I also secured a few other hard-to-find Metal Magic models. I had never expected to own them. Especially not the Guard of the Citadel. Being given it essentially for free, by one of the guys who sculpted some of the models I’m collecting, that’s a Pretty Nice Thing ™!

Q: What’s your best war story – on or off the gaming table?
A: I really dislike gaming stories. They’re always of the “I guess you had to be there” caliber. It reminds me of Rimmer in the Red Dwarf episode when he’s telling Kryten and Lister “amusing stories” from his Risk nights. However, I will humor you. A story that springs to mind is when I played in the Swedish championship of Star Wars CCG. The guy I was facing in one of the rounds had brought an EBO-deck. It relied to 100% on the card “Echo Base Operations” – hence the name. After we had played our first game, he realized he had forgotten to put that card in. Poor chap! Aaaand point proven. Gaming anecdotes are usually boring for everybody but the ones involved.

Q: LARPING – is it right?
A: Lightningbolt! ‘Nuff said. I was to one LARP in my youth. Caught in the middle between “Dost thou farth thee well ye olde shoppe forsooth?!” crowd and “Hi, I’m Conan the Barbarian and so is my mate. Lol!”. The outdoorsy parts were fun, the drunken debauchery in the evenings was fun. The rest, not so much.

Q: What attracted you to the hobby in the first place?
Blood Bowl. I had used miniatures for roleplaying games prior to Blood Bowl, and I tried painting them from time to time – but most definitely 2nd edition Blood Bowl. Ofcourse, as a kid I was constantly building dioramas and playsets for my Britains figures, my smurfs or my Star Wars figures. Pretty sure that have had an impact for my unhealthy fascination with little lead men.

Q: What keeps you in the hobby now?
Good question. I think it’s the active online community, really. It provides fuel for the fire. Without that inspiration and encouragment, the hobby would take a back seat in my life. I’d still play games with miniatures every now and then, but wouldn’t collect and paint as much as I do now.

Q: If money/time/skill was no object, what setting/story/movie/etc would you most like to game?
A: Something big, with a huge table and lots of miniatures taking ages to play. Warhammer 3rd edition, maybe. Or maybe a big-ass Star Wars massed battle, such as the battle for Hoth.

Q: Is everything better with Dinosaurs?
A: I have a very un-geeky disposition towards dinosaurs. I don’t think I have ever been excited about dinosaurs. As such, I don’t care much. I doubt porn would be improved by dinosaurs, for example.

Q: What was your worst gaming/painting/modelling disaster?
A: Don’t have any real tales of woe. I varnish-misted a minotaur a bit once, but it sorted itself. Biggest disaster was probably me selling off my old Orcs & Goblins army (mostly 3rd edt stuff) back when I was a stupid.

Q: What is best in life?
A: A full day of gaming with good friends is high on my list. That, or just idly reading books on a tropical beach far, far away. Or just stay in, watching movies a whole day. That doesn’t happen often.

 

Now, to nominate another eleven blogs. I’m trying to promote good blogs with (undeservedly) few followers and (too) little activity in the comments section, or well-known blogs that I’m (fairly) sure haven’t posted any Liebster stuff.

Jonas‘ for having so much Spacelords on display: http://deathworldadventures.blogspot.com/
Martin and Claus for having too few followers for such a great blog: http://shamutantis.wordpress.com/
Cheetor’s for the offer of being the Nick-Nack to my Scaramanga: http://sho3box.wordpress.com
24cigarettes‘ for promoting an healthy and active lifestyle: http://fullashtraygaming.blogspot.com/
Antipixi’s cause he (much like me) needs a boot in the ass to blog more: http://antipixi.blogspot.com/
Axiom’s for being a top bloke: http://www.magpieandoldlead.blogspot.com/
Veronakid’s for mammoth productivity posts: http://cleanpalettedirtywater.blogspot.com
Vyper‘s fledgling blog with some great chaos models: http://www.lead-rising.com/
Timbor‘s quite varied and content filled blog: http://mylifeinmm.blogspot.com/
Steve‘s fantastic peek into the Bryan Ansell collection: http://eldritchepistles.blogspot.com/
Area23‘s for creative use of “alternative” ranges: http://area-23.blogspot.com/

 

Finally, my 11 questions for the above nominees to answer if they pick up the challenge. I urge everybody to supplement the answers with illustrative pictures and links!
1. Which currently unfinished piece (model or terrain) in your collection have remained a work in progress the longest?
2. What’s your biggest, most guilty of musical pleasures?
3. What do you cook for a friend or date in an effort to really wow them?
4. Presented with the choice of three large cookies or five small cookies, what would be your choice and why? The total mass of cookie is identical, as are the cookies.
5. If you were allowed to use only one web-forum for the rest of your life, which forum would that be and why?
6. Do you really expect to be able to paint all that stuff in your lifetime?
7. What’s your favourite go-to board game for a spot of recreational gaming fun with non-gamer friends?
8. Do you have an irreplaceable pot of paint that you dread the day it runs out?
9. Pets?
10. In 10 years time, what do you expect or hope being up to hobby-wise?
11. Which currently available miniatures range is your favourite?

Guess that’s it. Thanks a bunch Steve!